Mel Willadsen had a solid start for Red Mountain, but it was her bat that lifted the Mountain Lions to a 4-3 victory over Basha in a thrilling elimination game in the 5A-I state tournament at Marcos de Niza High School on Saturday.
Willadsen hit a walk-off home run that landed on Guadalupe Road on the first pitch she saw in the eighth inning. It was Willadsen’s second hit and RBI of the game.
Haley Culley and Sara Goodrum allowed Red Mountain to force extra innings. Culley cut the Bears’ lead to 3-2 and Sara Goodrum tied the game with her RBI single. Basha threw out the game-winning run at home.
"She came up huge," Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton said of Goodrum.
All three of Basha’s runs came off a bases-loaded double by pitcher Kailey Regester in the sixth inning, but Red Mountain’s kept itself in the game with what Hamilton called "the best defense we played all year."
Red Mountain advances to face Highland at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Marcos de Niza.
Highland will have to play an elimination game against Red Mountain after it lost, 6-1, to Glendale Mountain Ridge in the 5A-I state tournament winner’s bracket.
The Hawks couldn’t get in a rhythm at the plate and only threatened once when they had the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Highland managed its lone run when Mariah Gonzales drew a walk to force in the run.
Ashley Seipel went 2-for-3 for the Hawks, who’ve lost both previous meetings with Red Mountain.
Desert Mountain eliminated Chaparral from the 5A-II softball state tournament with its 6-4 win at Sandra Day O’Connor High School.
It marked the second time in the tournament the Wolves defeated the Firebirds.
Dillan Firestone got the game’s biggest hit when she knocked in two runs in the fifth inning on a double to right-center field to help Desert Mountain to a three-run inning to take a 5-2 lead.
Kassey McCravey also had a big day at the plate for the Wolves, going 3-for-4 with a home run and with two RBIs.
Andy Wellins got the win in relief of starting pitcher Allyson Tallman to improve to 16-9 on the season. Wellins also went 2-for-4 with a double and one RBI.
Desert Mountain will take on top-seeded Centennial at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Sandra Day O’Connor High School for a chance to Sandra Day O’Connor in the semi-finals.
Queen Creek used its patience and hit-and-run plays to pull of a 10-6 win over visiting Prescott in the opening round of the 4A-I state tournament.
The Bulldogs drew more walks than they had hits in the game. Queen Creek scored its 10 runs off of six hits and nine walks.
The hit-and-run also played a key role. After Prescott tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third, Queen Creek came back to score six runs in the bottom half. The big inning got started on a Kenzey Kaler hit-and-run play.
Kelsey Montgomery had two RBI and Kendall Walther knocked in a run for the Bulldogs.
Queen Creek will play at No. 2 Sunrise Mountain at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Sunrise Mountain defeated Dysart 10-0 in six innings to advance.
Saguaro dominated visiting Queen Creek with a 12-2 win in five innings in the first round of the 4A-I state baseball tournament.
The second-seeded Sabercats got a big day at the plate from Zach Gibbons, who went 2-for-2 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and three RBI.
Chris Akmon and Ryan Comford also each had two hits for Saguaro. Akmon knocked in two runs off a double and home run and Comford had a home run and two RBIs.
Saguaro will play Tucson Sahuaro at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Surprise Baseball Stadium in the second round.
Seton Catholic had its season come to an end after falling in extra innings, 3-2, to host Mingus in eight innings of the 4A-II tournament.
Mingus will look to keep its quest for a third-straight title when it plays Liberty at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.