Heather Bowen has played in well over 100 softball games in her Centennial High School career.
Her final home game may have ranked among the best.
A senior shortstop, Bowen went 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and four RBIs Wednesday to help the Bulldogs down visiting Arbor View, 12-5, in a winners’ bracket semifinal in the Sunset Region softball tournament.
Centennial (29-6) will face Palo Verde (28-6) in the winners’ bracket final at 4 p.m. Thursday at Bishop Gorman. The winner advances to Saturday’s championship at Gorman.
“She went out with a bang, and she deserved it,” said Centennial coach Mike Livreri, whose team won its 13th straight postseason game, dating back to 2012. “She’s been playing well all season, but she has really picked it up of late. She has really shown a lot of leadership down the stretch.”
The state player of the year in 2012, Bowen belted an RBI double and scored in the first inning and tacked on a two-run homer in the second inning to help Centennial climb out of an early 2-0 hole.
“We got hit in the mouth early, a little wake-up call,” Livreri said. “Arbor View came out swinging and with a little emotion, as well. It was a big game for everyone. We never pushed any panic buttons. We knew what we could do.”
The Bulldogs scored three times in each of the first three innings to build a 9-4 lead.
Lauren Stroman was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, and Lina Barrera went 2-for-4 for Centennial, which had every starter collect at least one hit.
The Bulldogs put on at least two runners in every inning and forced Arbor View’s Ashlyn Ames to throw 152 pitches in six innings.
“We’ve been on both sides of this,” Livreri said. “We’ve had to come through the losers’ bracket before, and it’s hard. You don’t have any margin for error. All of these games are big.”
Dacia Sykes was 2-for-4 with a double, and Brittany Henricksen and Kellie Anderson each went 2-for-4 with an RBI for the Aggies (15-11-1), who will meet Shadow Ridge (17-7) in an elimination game at 2 p.m. on Thursday at Gorman.
Palo Verde 6, Bishop Gorman 2 — At Palo Verde, Brooke Stover was 3-for-3 with a double to help the Panthers top the Gaels in the other winners’ bracket semifinal.
Breanna Beatty had a two-run homer for Palo Verde, which led 6-0 after three innings.
Kelsea Sweeney tossed a six-hitter for the Panthers.
Shelby Estocado was 4-for-4 for Gorman (21-8), which will face Sierra Vista (7-13) in an elimination game at noon on Thursday at Gorman.
Shadow Ridge 9, Legacy 5 — At Shadow Ridge, Kenzie Kurth went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and three RBIs to lead the Mustangs over the Longhorns in an elimination game.
Kate Dennis was 3-for-4 with three doubles and an RBI for Shadow Ridge, which scored five runs in the bottom of the second. Tana Feiner was 3-for-3 for the Mustangs.
Lindsey Fishman went 3-for-4 with a double and a triple for Legacy (15-12).
Sierra Vista 5, Cimarron-Memorial 2 — At Cimarron, Kalei Watkins tossed a five-hitter and was 2-for-4 with a home run and a double to lead the Mountain Lions by the Spartans in an elimination game.
Kira Felise also homered, and Madison Hiu and Mikaela Ishikawa each had two hits for Sierra Vista.
Sarah Murphy was 2-for-4 for Cimarron (15-16).