When it comes to pressure, Tempe Corona del Sol junior pitcher Marina Carroll seems to easily brush it aside.
“That’s when I love to pitch — when we’re facing a team that’s going to be a challenge,” she said. “You just go out to the mound and pick it up a notch.”
And that is what Carroll did on Thursday in a 5A-I nonregion softball game against visiting Scottsdale Desert Mountain.
She struck out five, walked three and gave up five hits in a complete game during Corona del Sol’s 1-0 win.
The Aztecs (3-2) scored the only run in the bottom of the sixth inning. Mary Spiel reached on an error with one out.
She then advanced to third after a sacrifice bunt attempt by Ashley Hansen was bobbled by the first baseman, and Hansen was safe at first on the play.
After Jamie Pollack struck out, the next batter, Laura Bohning, lined a 2-2 pitch into center field for a base hit, scoring Spiel.
Meredith Whitney tossed a complete game with eight strikeouts and one walk in the loss for the Wolves (7-5).
“We changed our lineup for this game because we knew the pitcher for Desert Mountain wasn’t going to make it easy for us,” Corona coach Jeep Ray said.
Desert Mountain looked to rally in the top of the seventh inning.
The Wolves got back-to-back singles by Jaci Moench and Rachel Harbottle, which brought Whitney (six home runs and 22 RBIs this season) to the plate with the tying run in scoring position with two outs.
But Carroll walked Whitney on eight pitches, and the next batter, Alex Landon, flied out to end the game.
“I just felt that I was hitting my spots today,” said Carroll, who improved to 2-0 with both wins complete-game shutouts. “And I really have to give a lot of credit to my outfielders, they made some really good plays in the game.”
Ray agreed: “Defensively, this was one of the best games we’ve played this year so far.”
Desert Mountain had another opportunity to score early.
The Wolves loaded the bases with one out in the top of the fifth inning, but a ground out by Dillon Firestone followed by a fly out by Sami Maltese ended the threat.
Jennifer Tschetter and Jessica Mitchell each hit doubles for the Wolves, who were coming off a 14-0 rout of Laveen Cesar Chavez on Tuesday.
The Wolves left nine runners on base, including seven in scoring position.