Shadow Ridge coach Julia Meyn had no clue who she wanted to throw against Faith Lutheran in Wednesday’s Sunset Region tournament game.
The plan was to go through her staff until one of the pitchers found a groove.
Three was the magic number.
Mia Voges followed Shelbi Denman and Alyssa Stanley and shut the door to lead host Shadow Ridge to an 11-3 win over the Crusaders.
The Mustangs (24-9) will visit Palo Verde (29-7) in the winners’ bracket final at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The Crusaders (15-14) will host Bishop Gorman (14-21) in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We knew that (coach) Hilary (Nell) has built this team into a strong hitting machine,” Meyn said. “We knew we had to come with it. I was gonna go through every pitcher if I had to. She has literally turned that program around in a two-year time frame. Everybody knows they’re somebody to contend with. They are somebody you have to battle with. If you drop your guard, you’re losing.”
Faith Lutheran took a 3-0 lead, chasing Denman after one and Stanley after the third. But that was all it would get, as Voges mixed a variety pitches to scatter three hits and strike out six over the final four frames to earn the win.
“We came out a little bit more sluggish than usual,” Voges said. “We just needed to limit the damage on their side and just get back in our groove and hit the ball like we did.”
Alisha Schultz led the offense, going 3-for-3 with a double, triple, one run scored and five RBIs. Shea Clements was 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, and Stanley went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs.
“Once one bat gets going, it’s like a chain reaction, everyone just starts hitting,” Schultz said. “That’s where the momentum comes from. I think (Stanley’s home run) definitely fired everybody up.”
For the Crusaders, Haley Hines went 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles, Sophie Foster was 2-for-4 with a double and Maggie Whipple finished 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
After tying the game at 3 in the bottom of the third, the Mustangs tacked on three more in the fourth thanks to a two-run triple by Schultz.
Stanley sent the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the fifth over the center-field wall, triggering a five-run inning from the bottom half of the lineup to seal the win.
Palo Verde 10, Centennial 6 — At Palo Verde, Makena Martin hit a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the fourth inning as the Panthers overcame an early 6-2 deficit to top the Bulldogs in the other winners’ bracket semifinal.
Palo Verde trailed 6-2 entering the bottom of the third inning and scored three runs in the inning before Martin gave the Panthers a 9-6 lead with her fourth-inning slam. Martin finished 2-for-4.
Makall Whetten was 3-for-3 with a double, three runs and an RBI, and Lauryn Barker was 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs for Palo Verde.
Abby Hanley was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Centennial (21-15), which hosts Desert Oasis (24-9) in an elimination game at 4 p.m. Thursday.
Desert Oasis 20, Sierra Vista 10 — At Sierra Vista, Fia Tofi was 3-for-4 with three doubles and seven RBIs as the Diamondbacks topped the Mountain Lions in six innings in an elimination game.
Sierra Vista led 9-2 before a 13-run fourth-inning gave Desert Oasis the lead.
Jaid Riana Raval went 5-for-5 with a triple, three runs and two RBIs, and Holly Severence was 3-for-6 with a double, two runs and four RBIs for the Diamondbacks.
Ruby Martinez added three hits and four runs for Desert Oasis.
Sierra Vista finished 25-9.
Bishop Gorman 5, Durango 2 — At Durango, Katelyn Hunter hit a two-run home run for the Gaels (14-21), who eliminated the Trailblazers (23-12) from the tournament.
Monique Passalacqua was 3-for-3 with a double and two runs for Gorman, and Sarah Aguilar threw a complete game.
Keely Thompson had a double for Durango.