Palo Verde’s softball team was in desperate need of a calming influence Saturday afternoon.
Having committed four errors and a month’s worth of mental mistakes in the first three innings, the Panthers were in deep trouble against Westview (Oregon) in the Silver Bracket final of the Spring Jamboree tournament.
Haylee Lupinetti saved the day.
Lupinetti, who pitched a complete game earlier Saturday in a semifinal win, tossed 4 1/3 innings of scoreless, two-hit relief to help the Panthers rally for an 11-9 win over the Wildcats at Majestic Park.
“She did a phenomenal job,” Palo Verde coach Kelly Glass said. “I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has surpassed all of our expectations. She’s getting tougher mentally.”
Lupinetti, a junior, came on in relief of sophomore Taylor Askland, who allowed nine runs (two earned) on eight hits in 2 2/3 innings, but got little help from the defense. The Panthers (11-3) committed an error in each of the first two innings and two more during a seven-run third that helped Westview (5-2) build a 9-3 lead.
“You take away all those errors, and this could have been a run-rule or close to it,” Glass said. “If we could just play well from the get-go, we’re unstoppable.”
Lupinetti slammed the door, allowing just the two hits and one walk the rest of the way while striking out four.
And Palo Verde’s explosive offense came to life late. Grace Chavez blasted a three-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth to cut the gap to 9-6, and the Panthers took advantage of three Westview errors to score five runs in the sixth.
After an error put runners at first and second to open the sixth, Cara Beatty singled home Camden Zahn to make it 9-7. After another error, a sacrifice fly by Kali Tomlinson made it 9-8, and Beatty scored the tying run on a single by Chavez.
Samantha Wade’s single brought home Allyson Snelling with the go-ahead run, and the Panthers got an insurance run when Makall Whetten’s fielder’s choice grounder was thrown away.
“Our bats are definitely keeping us in ball games,” Glass said.
Chavez was 3-for-4 with four RBIs, and Wade went 2-for-3 with four RBIs for Palo Verde, which lost its opening game of the tournament, 7-6 to Calexico (California) before storming back to win five straight.
“I hope this is a confidence boost,” Glass said. “I want them to learn from this week and keep getting better. Games like this are just crucial for their mental game.”
Lupinetti, Chavez and Snelling were among those named to the all-tournament team.
Joining them on the team were Centennial’s Angel Love, Stephanie Day and Lina Barrera; Desert Oasis’ Meaghan McInerney, Gemma Perez and Elsy Guzman; Green Valley’s Tyre Hilton and Samantha Loving; Basic’s Sanoe Helenini; Liberty’s Marisa Olmos and Breanna Alvarez; and Shadow Ridge’s Mia Voges and Caitlyn Covington.
Palo Verde 10, Churchill (Ore.) 4 — Snelling was 2-for-4 with two homers and three RBIs to help the Panthers defeat the Lancers in a Silver Bracket semifinal.
Beatty went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double and three RBIs, and Tomlinson was 2-for-3 with a triple for Palo Verde.
Rene Brabham went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Churchill.
Shadow Ridge 14, Calexico (Calif.) 7 — Covington went 2-for-3 with a home run to help the Mustangs defeat the Bulldogs.
Alisha Schultz went 4-for-4, and Maddie Wills was 2-for-3 with a double for Shadow Ridge.
Andrea Quirroz went 2-for-3 with a double for Calexico.
Shadow Ridge 11, Maranatha (Calif.) 1 — Samaiya Montgomery was 3-for-3 with a double, and Kenzie Kurth homered to help the Mustangs defeat the Minutemen in five innings.
Covington was 2-for-2 with a double, and Wills went 2-for-3 with a double for Shadow Ridge.
Voges tossed a four-hitter for Shadow Ridge.
Centennial 15, Maranatha (Calif.) 8 — Skyler Ball went 2-for-3 with a double and three runs as the Bulldogs outslugged the Minutemen.
Barrera was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Makenzie Ball went 1-for-1 with two RBIs for Centennial, which got homers from Ava Dolan and Brianna Benoit.
Michelle Lleng hit a grand slam for Maranatha.
Centennial 23, Calexico (Calif.) 0 — Hannah Jones went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and six RBIs, and Benoit was 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs as Centennial blasted Calexico in three innings.
Lina Barrera was 4-for-4, and Love went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for Centennial.
Deanna Barrera tossed a three-inning no-hitter for Centennial.
Riverton (Utah) 16, Liberty 3 — Hailey Jo Hansen homered, and the Silverwolves used a six-run sixth inning to rout the Patriots in six innings.
Ashleigh Rodriguez was 1-for-2 with a double for Liberty.
Liberty 16, Harbor Teacher Prep (Calif.) 11 — Alvarez was 2-for-4 with a home run, and the Patriots scored 10 runs in the third inning, then held off the Monarchs.
Rodriguez was 2-for-2 with a triple, and Cali Christopher was 2-for-4 for Liberty, which led 14-2 entering the bottom of the third.
Desert Oasis 6, Antioch (Calif.) 5 — McInerney went 3-for-3 with a double and five RBIs as the Diamondbacks rallied by the Panthers.
Meagan Anders went 3-for-4, and teammates Justine Tadeo-Corpez and Holly Severance each hit a double for Desert Oasis, which trailed 5-1 after the top of the fifth inning.
Alexus Ponce hit a two-run homer, and Nicole Blanco was 2-for-3 with a double for Antioch.
Desert Oasis 6, Central Union (Calif.) 1 — Guzman was 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI, and Holly Severance tossed a seven-hitter to lead the Diamondbacks past the Spartans.
McInerney went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, and Izriah Hodson doubled for Desert Oasis, which led 3-1 after four innings.
Jailene Gonzalez was 2-for-3 for Central Union.
Chaminade (Calif.) 7, Basic 3 — Shannon Haddad and Tessa Magnanimo combined on a five-hitter to lead the Eagles by the Wolves.
Haddad struck out eight in five innings to earn the win for Chaminade, which led 4-0 after two innings.
Bailey Cunanan had three RBIs for Basic.
Basic 11, Fernley 1 — Lexie Edmunds tossed a six-hitter with three strikeouts as the Wolves routed the Vaqueros in five innings.
Angela Santillanes had two hits and four RBIs, and Helenini added three hits for Basic, which scored five runs in both the third and fourth innings.
Green Valley 8, San Fernando (Calif.) 5 — Loving went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs to lift the Gators over the Tigers.
Loving also earned the save for Green Valley, which led 8-1 after the sixth inning before giving up four runs in the seventh.
Alexa Blazek was 3-for-4 with a double for the Gators, who also got doubles from Katrina Ramos and Baylee Means.
Sydney Caballero hit a homer, and Kayla Yamane was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs for San Fernando.
Bell (Calf.) 7, Lincoln County 5 — The Eagles stormed to a 6-0 lead after three innings before downing the Lynx.
Josie Burgess and Cameron Lloyd each doubled for Lincoln County.
Durango 2, Poly (Calif.) 1 — Madisyn Conriquez and Trinity Valentine combined on a seven-hitter as the Trailblazers edged the Parrots.
Valentine pitched three innings of relief to earn the save for Durango, which overcame four errors.
The Trailblazers scored both of their runs in top of the second inning.