From warm-up catcher to MVP. Megan Crawley’s Saturday started by warming up the Scottsdale Desert Mountain pitchers, then continued as an observer on the bench.
Her day ended with a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the fifth inning to give No. 1 seed Desert Mountain a 4-1 victory against No. 5 Glendale Deer Valley in the 5A Division II state tournament at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Given what was ahead of her — a large crowd of screaming, teenage teammates — Crawley should have ditched her helmet rounding third base, but since it was her first home run in 25 career atbats, she learned her lesson the hard way.
“It hurt,” she said. “I got hit in the head a lot.”
Five minutes after pitcher Lauren Kemp secured the final out, the Wolves were ready to face Paradise Valley for the second time this tournament, more so since the Trojans knocked off the Wolves, 4-3, in nine innings last week.
The sophomore Crawley hasn’t played much this season for the Wolves, but that’s changing by the at-bat.
When the Wolves needed one, Crawley delivered a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning against Paradise Valley, and coaches saw she was worth getting more swings.
With Jen Tschetter and Alex Landon on base, Crawley pinch-hit for Jaci Moench, saw a first-pitch fastball she called, “right down Broadway,” and ripped a line-drive through the wind.
The ball hit the top of the left-field fence and bounced over.
“What can you say? I’m a genius,” Wolves assistant Dave Miller said of his substitution decision. He didn’t try to hold in his laughter over the exaggeration of that statement, but the Wolves advanced two rounds while coach Rick Sharp is in Arkansas following the death of his mother.
“We wanted to let him coach at least one more game for us,” Crawley said.
Thanks to Crawley, Kemp (complete-game two-hitter) and the defense, he will. Sharp is expected to return to Arizona in time for Tuesday’s game.
Timing is everything.
“They don’t panic,” Miller said. “They take care of business.”
In other 5A-II action, Glendale Ironwood defeated Peoria Sunrise Mountain, 4-0. Ironwood plays Glendale Sandra Day O’Connor Tuesday.