Less thinking, more swinging.
Hailee Siroky has sworn by that motto the past couple weeks, and why not?
The proof was in the power when Basha's sophomore catcher launched a three-run home run to straightaway center field during a six-run third inning that quickly turned an early deficit into a big lead as the Bears' 7-2 victory against No. 3 Xavier on Tuesday night moved the top-seeded team in the Division I softball state tournament onward.
Basha has little time to savior. The Bears will face No. 6 Horizon on Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford.
It was Siroky's second home run in the past three tournament games and fifth this season. She also has 13 RBI in her last four games dating back to the regular season finale against Highland.
"I'm trying to not think about anything, I've been clearing my head," she said of her recent torrid hitting. "It's been working."
Following a self-described clunker against Glendale Mountain Ridge last Saturday, the Bears rebounded with the big third inning against the Gators, who played each other three weeks ago late in the regular season.
In this elimination game, Xavier came out swinging against Basha ace Kailey Regester.
After an infield hit and stolen base by Mallory Bellknap to begin the third inning, No. 3-hitter Katie Park laced a changeup to left field that scored Bellknap.
Cleanup hitter Lauren Johnson followed with a ground that glanced off first baseman Brittany Medina's glove and rolled behind second base. Park never stopped running from first and slid home safely to give Xavier a 2-0 lead.
Elaina Wusstig doubled to left to begin Basha's third and its big inning. A couple Bears were hit by pitches, an error in the outfield turned a single into a two-base mistake, Regester's pop fly turned into an RBI single and Theresa Asta's second HBP set up Siroky's shot to center on a 3-2 count.
"That one felt really good," Siroky said.
Xavier's best the chance the rest of the way came when Jackie Martinez doubled to left-center which put runners on second and third with one out. in the fifth But Regester made one of three snares fielding sharp grounders from the pitcher's mound to retire Park, and got a strikeout to end the inning.
Courtney Hiruko was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth for Basha's final run.
"We seem to play better mad," Basha coach Scott Hoffmeyer said of his team's rebound from Saturday's 6-0 loss to Mountain Ridge. "...We're in a good spot."
While Xavier coach Bobby Pena declined to comment after the game, the loss ended an otherwise successful season - again - for Xavier (28-6). The Gators won both the Sun Blast tournament and its own tournament in March. Then the Gators won their first 14 power point games, including the likes of Horizon, Pinnacle, Chaparral and Phoenix Sandra Day O'Connor.
Even the losses (Horizon, Basha, Chaparral) were all close games. The Gators beat surging Chandler in the second round of the tournament, then dropped a tight contest to Horizon in the third round and beat Yuma Cibola earlier this week.
As all the games figure to be this week, Basha-Horizon appears to be a top-notch matchup. The two teams met in the early stages of the Desert Mountain tournament, an 8-6 win by Basha.
Red-hot Horizon beat Peorial Centennial, 9-8, on Tuesday night to advance to Wednesday, which is another elimination game.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.