Gilbert pitcher Michelle Duncan may be only a freshman, but she wasn't scared.
Coach Shaundra Gutierrez could see it.
Duncan gave up just one run in two bases-loaded jams in the fourth and sixth innings as No. 9 Gilbert escaped with a 3-2 win over No. 12 Tucson Salpointe in the 5A-I state tournament on Thursday night at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
Though Duncan is young, and Gutierrez has another pitcher who alternates in the circle, she never contemplated taking Duncan out.
"Michelle had the look today," Gutierrez said. "She was in the zone."
The game was tied at 1-1 heading into the bottom of the second when Gilbert capitalized on a pair of two-out errors by the Lancers to take a 3-1 lead.
Duncan and Amanda Collentro reached on the miscues, and Alyssa Goldsmith knocked in Duncan with a single. Collentro then scored on a passed ball.
"We'll get 'em how we can take them," Gutierrez said. "Put the pressure on by getting some runs."
Salpointe loaded the bases in the fourth inning with one out, but Duncan got out of it unscathed by striking out Blakeney Sitton and getting Lianna Estrella to ground to first.
Salpointe (20-15) closed to within 3-2 on an infield single by Nicole Rascon in the sixth, but Duncan struck out Kristi Gragg on a change-up to escape without any further damage.
"She showed her true colors today in what she can do as a pitcher," Gutierrez said of Duncan, who just recently turned 15. "Her being so young, if she keeps pushing forth like this she can do great things."
Goldsmith went 4-for-4 with an RBI.
Gilbert moves on to play No. 5 seed Phoenix St. Mary's on Saturday.