This was two games of frustration busted out, in a big way.
Twice before, Desert Ridge got the best of Red Mountain on the softball field, a feat no school has done to the Lions twice in a season since 2007.
The third time, however, became a quasi-therapy session of slugging.
The early rounds of Monday night's Division I state tournament quarterfinal were a predictable pitchers' duel between Red Mountain's Bre Macha and Desert Ridge freshman Bailey Klitzke, but the Lions' turned lethal by hitting opposite field in the fourth inning and pounded its way to an 11-0 win in five innings at Rose Mofford softball complex.
The win sets up one Div. I state semifinal between Mountain View and Red Mountain, another battle of Brown Road in the winner's bracket. Red Mountain won both previous meetings this season.
No. 10 Desert Ridge has been one of the biggest revelations all season, but slips into the "elimination" portion of the bracket and faces No. 3 Horizon on Tuesday night at Rose Mofford.
"The last few weeks we've worked a lot on hitting good pitches, not going outside the strike zone," Lions coach Rich Hamilton said after his team pounded out two home runs, 10 hits and took four walks in the final two innings. "When you start going out of the zone, you shorten the game (for the pitcher)."
Both teams had early chances - notably Desert Ridge had two on with one out in the third inning - but couldn't score early. But the Lions' hit parade began with a leadoff single and stolen base by TJ Beeson in the fourth. Bre Macha ripped a pitch to right field for a hit and turned into an extra-base error to score Beeson. Jordan Beck ripped a hit to right-center, a walk, a pitching change by Desert Ridge, and two more hits made it 4-0 after the fourth.
"I think we felt defeated once it was 2-0," Jaguars coach Jen Broderick said. "It's a team effort. They can't just rely on one player or a pitcher."
Macha and the defense behind her stymied the Jaguars (Desert Ridge put up 13 and three runs, respectively, in the previous meetings) as she limited them to two hits and struck out seven with no walks.
Things got worse for upstart-Desert Ridge in the fifth, as Beeson homered to left-center, Macha and Ashley Hill drew walks in between another Beck hit, Marian Ruff had an RBI blooper for a hit and Alex Wiley drove in another run when everyone was safe on a fielder's choice.
Leadoff hitter ended the night with a three-run home run to the opposite field, a no-doubter which the 5-foot leadoff hitter has done nine times since late March.
"As soon as I hit it," she said. "Crack of the bat."
The Jaguars had a lengthy postgame meeting on the outfield grass, but Broderick was upbeat afterward. The second-year coach's Jaguars, after all, have another day to play and haven't been this far in the postseason before.
"We have to remind them they are good, because we are. We've shown it all season," said Broderick, who's team's resume also includes wins over Chaparral, Perry, and Gilbert this season. "We have to come back."
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.