It was news when Centennial’s softball team fell behind Palo Verde in the first inning Friday.
It was only the second time in four Sunset Region tournament games that the Bulldogs found themselves trailing.
And much like the first time, it didn’t last long.
After surrendering a two-out solo home run in the top of the first inning, Centennial bashed its way to a five-run bottom of the first and just kept hitting. The result was a 13-3, five-inning rout of the Panthers in the Sunset title game at Bishop Gorman.
“We realized what we needed to do,” said junior Savannah Horvath, who went 3-for-3 with a home run, three runs and four RBIs. “Everyone wanted to be the one to get us started. And everyone got us going.”
Centennial (33-6) will make its third straight state tournament appearance next week at UNLV. Palo Verde (26-7) will meet Silverado (12-8) in a play-in game for the final state berth at 10 a.m. today at Gorman.
“I don’t know what it is, we’re just zoned in right now,” said Centennial coach Mike Livreri. “They’re seeing good pitches, and they’re just being aggressive.”
Centennial trailed Shadow Ridge 1-0 on Tuesday before scoring five runs in the first inning. The Bulldogs won all four of their tournament games by the mercy rule and outscored their opponents, 48-5.
Brooke Stover homered off the scoreboard in the top of the first to give Palo Verde its short-lived lead.
“Sometimes you need a little punch in the face, a little jab to get you going, but it was nice to see our sticks get going,” Livreri said.
The Bulldogs started a one-out rally in the first with Horvath’s single knocking in the first run, and Taylor Huntly’s double to right-center plating two more. Lauren Stroman added an RBI single, and the Bulldogs took advantage of two Panther errors in the inning.
Palo Verde closed the gap to 5-3 in the top of the second before Alyssa Finger doubled to right to score two in the bottom of the second and begin to put the game away. Finger’s double appeared to land a few inches foul in the right field corner, but was ruled fair.
Horvath tacked on a three-run homer, her 15th of the season, in the third.
Every Centennial starter had at least one of the team’s 15 hits. Finger and Huntly each went 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Mia Acuna was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.
After allowing three runs in the first two innings, Huntly retired the final 11 Panther batters to complete a four-hitter.
“We have a ton of confidence, but we still have to stay level,” Horvath said. “We can’t get too high or too low. We just have to stay humble, as always.”