SUNRISE SOFTBALL: Coles homers, helps Rancho claim title

Migraine-associated vertigo robbed Kayla Coles of most of her senior softball season at Rancho.

At times, the first baseman wasn’t certain she’d play again for the Rams.

Hitting a home run and helping her team win a Sunrise Region title seemed too far-fetched to think about. Until Saturday.

After being pulled earlier in the game when she got a little woozy in the heat, Coles re-entered and blasted a solo home run to help the Rams to an 8-0 win over Liberty in the Sunrise final at Bishop Gorman. It’s the first region title for Rancho, which will compete for its third state title next week in Reno.

“When I passed out during (team) pictures, I didn’t think I was going to be able to play,” said Coles, who didn’t play this year until late April. “It’s pretty crazy, especially only having had a few chances to hit this year, to hit a home run. It’s just great.

“To be a senior and to (win region), it just feels so good.”

Coles also had a sacrifice bunt and drew a walk in the game. Her homer with two outs in the fifth inning gave the Rams a 6-0 lead.

“It’s such a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Rancho coach Amanda Zunno said. “She’s been with me on varsity since she was a freshman, and the hard work she has put in, especially to get her back to the point where she is at now. It couldn’t have gone any better for her.”

Sam Pochop took care of the rest for Rancho (28-7), tossing a five-hitter and striking out 11, including the final four Liberty hitters.

Pochop pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first and stranded two runners in the third. She retired 13 of the final 15 hitters of the game.

“She was hitting her spots,” Zunno said.

Yvette Sanchez ripped a two-run double in the second inning to give Rancho the lead, and the Rams got run-scoring hits from Gianna Carosone, Tiare Lee and Kat Anthony in the third to stretch the advantage to 5-0.

Jahnae Davis-Houston and Carosone each had an RBI single in the sixth for Rancho. Carosone, Lee and Lili Gutierrez each had two of Rancho’s 10 hits.

“This is like a dream come true,” Zunno said. “This is everything I’ve wanted for four years for Rancho, and now it’s a reality. It feels better than I ever imagined.”

Ashleigh Rodriguez was 2-for-2, and Breanna Alvarez was 2-for-3 for Liberty (22-10).

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