One minute Shadow Ridge softball players are kicking around a hacky sack pregame, the next they’re blasting home runs.
Yet it was that stark contrast of staying loose after warmups, then donning their game faces in time for the first pitch that helped the Mustangs to a 6-5 victory over McQueen on Thursday in the second round of the Class 4A state tournament at Bishop Gorman.
“The seniors are coming out with that authority, but at the same time, we have to keep the younger ones very loose and we gotta keep them calm,” Shadow Ridge coach Julia Meyn said. “They’re in this for the haul, they want to win this. They’re the ones that are taking authority on the field, and that makes them feel better.”
North Carolina-bound senior Alyssa Stanley allowed two runs on four hits and struck out three in 4 2/3 innings, and went 2-for-2 with a home run, double and three RBIs for Shadow Ridge.
“I just went out there and did what I could for the team,” Stanley said. “I just wanted it for the girls.”
Senior Caitlyn Covington hit a first-inning two-run homer to help the Mustangs (29-2) move into the winners bracket final against Coronado (28-8) at 3 p.m. Friday at Gorman. Coronado defeated Spanish Springs 13-6.
Senior Shea Clements and junior Jasmine Martin each had two hits for Shadow Ridge.
“We’re connected, there’s no drama, we get along,” Stanley said. “We just do everything we need to do to be successful as a team, and we jell really well. It’s been the best season we’ve had.”
The Lancers (26-12) scored four runs in the final three innings, including Brianna Lopez-Cortez’s two-run homer off Martin in the top of the seventh to make it 6-5. But Martin, who is committed to UNLV, struck out Kiera Escalante to end the game.
“This squad seems to be more refined in the sense that they’re tired of coming here and being sent home early, it’s no more than that,” Meyn said. “These seniors didn’t want to see any drama that happened in previous years that tore them apart. They’ve worked really hard at it.”
Makayla Webber went 2-for-3 with two runs for McQueen, and Camarra Clinton was 2-for-3 with a double. Erica McBride homered for the Lancers.
Coronado 13, Spanish Springs 6 — Tori Jones went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs as Coronado stunned the Northern Region champions in the other winners’ bracket semifinal.
Madison Stephens was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs, and Kaila Angel and Katie Sullivan also homered for Coronado, which scored six runs in the third inning and two in the fourth to take an 8-0 lead.
Ashley Ward allowed just one earned run and struck out six, going the distance in her second game of the day for Coronado.
Kennedy Dudley was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs for Spanish Springs (29-6), which will face Basic (28-10) in an elimination game at 10 a.m. Friday.
Coronado 1, Centennial 0 — Ward spun a two-hitter and struck out 11 to lead the Cougars by the Bulldogs in the first round.
Paige Sinicki singled, stole second and scored on Ward’s single to center in the first inning.
Sinicki was 2-for-3, and Isabel Rodriguez was 1-for-2 with a double for Coronado.
Amanda Sink spun a four-hitter and struck out 12 for Centennial (32-7), which will meet McQueen (26-12) in an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Friday.
McQueen 6, Basic 0 — Rylie Miller tossed a one-hitter and struck out 17 to lead the Lancers by the Wolves.
Deanna Johnson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs for McQueen.
Sanoe Helenihi’s sixth-inning single was the lone hit for Basic.