Highland took advantage of the opposition’s generosity and a couple of solid pitching performances Saturday to take home the championship of the Lion Country Classic softball tournament at Red Mountain Park in Mesa.
The Hawks scored 10 runs with two out in the fourth inning against Desert Mountain in the title game and won it easily, 13-0 in five innings.
For Highland (4-2), it was a successful opening to the season under first-year coach Jennifer Caldwell, who was pleased to see results quickly from her squad.
“We started out (the tournament) playing a little shaky,” Caldwell said.
“We knew we had some great players here. It’s all about getting them to work together as a team.”
In the championship game, sophomore Talor Haro tossed a one-hitter and fanned eight for her second win in as many decisions.
Haro fanned 17 the day before in a victory over Mesquite.
Haro and the Hawks owned just a 1-0 lead batting with two outs in the top of the fourth.
No. 9 hitter Ashley Nardelli, who drove in Haro for the game’s only run to that point in the second inning, was at the plate with the bases loaded.
She hit a sharp ground ball to short. Desert Mountain’s Jenn Tschetter gloved the ball and turned toward second to throw for the inning-ending force.
Tschetter opted to hold the ball slightly longer than she wanted, waiting for second baseman Jessica Mitchell to get to the bag. The hesitation led to a low and late throw.
Two runs scored to make it 3-0. Six consecutive hits followed, the big blow a three-run homer by Casey Edmondson. In the inning, the Hawks collected nine hits and sent 15 batters to the plate. They led 11-0 going to the bottom of the inning. Every Highland starter had at least one hit in the game. Haro was 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs and two RBIs. Christi Boujikian also had three hits. In the semifinal against Red Mountain, Highland prevailed, 6-4. Edmondson went the distance to record the win. A four-run third by Highland was the difference. The runs scored that inning via one hit, three walks and three errors. Highland was outhit 7-3 in the game by Red Mountain.