Horizon set the tone for the season early by winning the championship of the 21st annual Dobson-Marcos softball tournament Saturday at Marcos de Niza H.S.
The Huskies knocked off Chandler, 3-1, to win the all-East Valley final.
"It was a good tournament, we just got the team set after try-outs and had a chance to see where we are at," new Horizon coach Lindsey Collins said.
It often happens that the player who made the defensive gem in the other half of the inning comes up to lead off the inning and produce on offense. Haley Bryce made a scoop at first base to keep the Wolves off the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning.
Then Bryce, the Huskies' No. 8 hitter, stroked a base hit to start things off in the bottom of the fourth and went to second on a passed ball. Gabbi Moreno then singled to bring home Bryce with a nice slide on a close play at the plate. Moreno eventually scored on a passed ball and the two runs broke a 1-1 deadlock and held up for the 3-1 win.
"I knew (Chandler) pitcher was throwing first pitch strikes so I got the pitch I wanted for the single," Bryce said. "On the run I figured it would be close, I just went in hard hoping to come out on top."
Horizon pitcher Tamara Statman didn't allow a Chandler baserunner to reach second base in the last three innings to notch the win. Statman, whose nickname is "T", scattered five hits and had the rise ball working as she struck outf five.
"We have some nice depth on the pitching staff, but "T" got to be on the mound for the big game in the championship," Collins said. "She allowed some hits but pulled through when we needed it with help from our defense."
Chandler hurler Kali Ohton went the distance for the Wolves. She also yielded five hits and struck out four.
The Huskies drew first blood scoring in the bottom of the third when Bryce reached on an error and was brought home on an RBI single from Gabbi Morgan. Chandler tied the game at 1-1 in the top of the fourth frame as Tori Blakester had her second double of the day and scored on Alexis Ybarra's sacrifice fly.
A chance to take the lead later in the inning was erased when the Huskies threw out a runner at the plate.
In the bottom of the fifth, it was Bryce who got things rolling as Horizon took the lead for good.
A key turning point came in a scoreless game in the top of the second. Blakester hit a one-hop double to the fence to lead off. Sydney Behrens was hit by a pitch and McKenna Allen singled to lead the bases with no outs. Statman and the Huskies then came up clutch as they would escape stranding all three runners with no runs. Statman got a strikeout which was followed by two fly balls.
"You have to give credit where it is due and that is (Statman) working out of that," Chandler coach Kim Higginbotham said. "We played well in all our games and it was a good start for our program."
Higginbatham did not coach the bases as she is expecting to have a baby soon.
Glendale Mountain Ridge beat Highland, 9-4, in the third place game.