Score in the first inning, and it takes a lot of pressure off your team.
First-year Phoenix Horizon softball coach Jackie Coburn has been preaching that idea to her players all season, but the Huskies had yet to put it into motion until Thursday (March 20).
Horizon overcame a 1-0 deficit with four runs in the bottom of the first and went on to defeat Tempe Corona del Sol 9-1 in pool play in the Desert Mountain Invitational at Horizon Park in north Scottsdale.
Horizon climbed to 11-2 and will play Glendale Cactus on Friday (March 21) at noon. Corona del Sol (3-7) also will play Cactus at 4 p.m.
“It’s absolutely less pressure if you can score early,’’ said Coburn, who played at Phoenix North Canyon High and the University of Arizona.
Horizon has a strong pitcher in junior Tamara “T’’ Statman, a solid defense and an offense that appears to put the ball in play at just the right time and spot.
“We try to make a lot of things happen,’’ Coburn said. “We work hard defensively and want to give our opponents only 21 outs, not any more opportunities than that.’’
Statman gave up a couple of hits in the first inning and only one thereafter.
She also is a proficient hitter. She led off the first with a base hit, and the Huskies pushed four runs across on six hits along with three errors by the Aztecs.
Statman led off the second with a ground-rule double and scored on a sacrifice fly by Jordan Wehr.
The Huskies scored three more times in the fourth, on a run-scoring hit by Alexandra Burden off the pitcher’s glove, and a two-run single by Jenna Beeso.
Statman produced the final run in the fifth with a sacrifice fly.
“These girls have been very good to work with,’’ Coburn said. “It’s stressful having to deal with school and playing ball and other things, and they are doing a good job.’’