Seton Catholic's softball team has been a member of the 4A Conference for three years, and now in two out of those three years the Sentinels have won the state championship.
The Sentinels won their second straight 4A Division II championship with a 7-3 victory over Tucson Sahuarita on Saturday night at Phoenix’s Rose Mofford Sports complex.
"This is our second and it feels as good as any other we have had," Seton coach Jerry Mullin said. "All championships are special."
It was a close call most of the way.
Olivia Bergman allowed one run in the top of the first inning on a RBI single by Sahuarita’s Lyzette Creason which scored Sigourney Sanchez. But Bergman’s teammates had her back as the Sentinels put up four runs and Bergman with Bergman in the middle of it.
Courtney Rodriguez started the surge with a double and Kelsey Rodriguez' double scored Courtney to tie the game. A couple of batters later Bergman stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run single for a 3-1 lead.
Seton tacked on another run and put Sahuarita in a hole they couldn't get out of.
"We gave ourselves a cushion in the first inning, but I knew it was going to be tough to close them out," Bergman said.
Sahaurita made things interesting in the top of the second inning after an illegal pitch by Bergman gave the Mustangs runners on first and third with two outs. The Sentinels escaped any damage, but Sahuarita tacked on a run on in the third inning when Creason scored from third on a RBI by Alexus Torrez.
The Sentinels offense, however, re-awoke in the fourth inning. Bergman once again got it rolling with a double, which was followed up by a sacrifice bunt by Alicia Boyd.
On the next play, Bergman had a shot to score but was out on a hard play at the plate by Mustangs catcher Abrie Bustamante, who needed a minute to regain her breath after the collision, but Natalie Samuels later scored on a throwing error and Melissa Niedfelt followed for a 6-2 Sentinels lead.
Bergman controlled the next two innings, but the Mustangs would not let their season end without a fight. With two outs in the seventh, Creason scored again on a single by Lysandra Gomez.
But Bergman recorded her eighth strikeout of the game with two outs and the bases loaded that sent the Sentinels into a championship celebration.
"I wasn’t worried when the bases were loaded, we had enough of a cushion and I knew we needed to just settle down and get the final out," Bergman said.