With Arbor View pitcher Taylor Thomas breezing through four no-hit innings Tuesday, Centennial softball coach Mike Livreri patiently waited for any spark to get his team going.
He got it from junior third baseman Stephanie Day in back-to-back innings.
Day started the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings with singles and scored both times in the Bulldogs’ 5-1 home win over the Aggies in a Northwest League game.
Centennial (20-12, 6-1) moved into a first-place tie with Arbor View (18-7, 6-1) with one league game remaining.
“Stephanie Day just said ‘Get on my back,’ ” Livreri said. “We didn’t have a hit (to that point), so that was huge. We struggled against this pitcher at Arbor View and were still struggling today. Sometimes you just need that spark, and she got it going for us.”
Leading off the fifth, Day singled up the middle, moved up on a single by Brianna Benoit and took third on a sacrifice bunt. Makenzie Ball hit a two-run single to score Day and pinch runner Christina Cerrone to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead.
Pinch hitter Ava Dolan then belted a two-run homer to left field.
“Ava, cold off the bench, came in and had a good hack on the foul ball before and you could tell she was on it,” Livreri said. “And then she just ran into one. She’s had some good swings lately and has been working hard in practice.”
Day also had a one-out single in the sixth and scored again on a hit by Ball, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs.
“Makenzie is huge,” Livreri said. “She had some really good at-bats today. She did a great job catching, but, of course, her stick was huge.”
Breanne Henricksen was 3-for-4 for Arbor View, which scored in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded error.
Centennial’s Cheyenne Cudahy pitched the first three innings and re-entered in the seventh. She allowed one hit and struck out five. Maddie Jones got the win, pitching three innings of relief.
Centennial would hold the tiebreaker and top seed over Arbor View for next week’s Sunset Region playoffs with a win at Desert Oasis on Thursday.
“For us, this was a big game today,” Livreri said. “They beat us at their place. We’ve got to play Desert Oasis still, but we couldn’t lose this game, especially with our seniors on Senior Day. It just worked out well for us.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.