Brandy Thaw experienced disappointment two years ago in a Class 4A state play-in softball game.
Centennial’s senior third baseman wasn’t about to let it happen again Monday at Bonanza.
Thaw stroked a two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning to lift the Bulldogs into the state tournament with a 6-5 win over Green Valley (27-9). Centennial (27-9) will meet Foothill (28-11) to open the state tourney Friday at 4 p.m. at Majestic Park.
“I just said I had to do it,” said Thaw, who was a sophomore when Centennial lost the play-in game to Foothill in 2007. “I told myself I couldn’t let us down.”
The Bulldogs’ No. 8 hitter, Thaw stepped up with the bases loaded and looped a 2-and-1 pitch into shallow left field, scoring Johnna Brown with the tying run and Mikayla Djordjevic with the go-ahead run.
“I was just trying to put it somewhere where they couldn’t get it,” Thaw said. “It’s unbelievable. A lot of hard work paid off. It’s my senior year. I had to do it.”
It was her only hit of the day and came after the Bulldogs had a runner forced out at the plate on a fielder’s choice grounder to first.
“If anybody needed it and deserved it, she did,” Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. “It came down to two outs and a senior at the plate. It’s big for our seniors after having that disappointment in 2007.”
Centennial pitcher Lindsay Konopelko pitched out of a jam in the bottom of the seventh, stranding runners at the corners when she got a popout and a strikeout to end the game.
Konopelko, who threw 141 pitches, struck out six.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 3-0 lead on Djordjevic’s bases-clearing double in the first but didn’t make it easy on themselves.
Centennial committed five errors and, with the potential tying run at third base in the sixth inning, had a runner thrown out trying to steal second to end the inning.
“I tip my hat to Green Valley,” Livreri said. “They made us pay big-time. Credit to us, too, we didn’t roll over. We didn’t give up.”
Green Valley tied the game at 3 in the third, scoring twice on an error and another run on Jacqui Cappuccilli’s two-out double. The Gators added single runs in the fourth on Katharine Conti’s two-out single and fifth on Shelby Vickers’ two-out single.
Conti, Cappuccilli, Lace Jordan, Ali Bodnar and Chelsea Anderson each had two hits for the Gators.
Brown was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs for Centennial. Kylie Bartlett went 2-for-4 and has 13 hits in the postseason.