After fracturing three bones in her face during softball tryouts, Chandler Seton softball pitcher Olivia Bergman wears a protective mask every time she pitches.
“It’s really hot,” Bergman said. “You sweat a lot.”
Finally, something to make her uncomfortable, because opposing hitters have been feeling the same way for a long time.
The Seton ace has made a career of putting offenses on the hot seat, and the mask couldn’t slow her down on Tuesday.
Bergman threw a complete game three-hitter in Seton’s 8-1 victory over Queen Creek in the 4A-II state tournament at Seton. She struck out 11 in the contest as the top-seeded Sentinels advance to play No. 12 Gilbert Perry on Thursday in the semifinals at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
Seton didn’t have many hard-hit balls, but kept the pressure on with 10 hits and nine stolen bases. The game plan was evident after Courtney Rodriguez reached first base in the first inning and immediately stole second.
“If we think that we can beat (the throw), then we’ll go,” Seton coach Jerry Mullin said.
The stolen bases consistently put the Sentinel base runners in scoring position, which helped them capitalize on three Queen Creek errors to the tune of four unearned runs.
“I’ve been on the other side of it when I’ve played teams with speed,” Mullin said. “You’re always thinking about it, always worried. It puts a lot of pressure on you.”
Seton scored one run each in the first and third innings.
Queen Creek battled back with a run in the top of the fourth on a leadoff double by Raianna Dobbs and a single that scored her by Megan Hoopes.
The Sentinels didn’t let the Bulldogs hang around, scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to go ahead 5-1.
“When they get a little bit of momentum, then we come back and get more runs, it makes me feel better,” Bergman said.
Kelsey Rodriguez led Seton with three hits and two RBIs. Megan Johnson, Carrie Reisinger and Madison Austin had two hits apiece.
Hoopes went 1-for-3 for Queen Creek and was the only player in the lineup who didn’t strike out.
Seton had beaten Queen Creek twice before in East Sky Region contests during the regular season.