Queen Creek rallies in 7th, wins softball opener in 9th
Originally published: May 3, 2014 - 12:00 am
Queen Creek’s softball season was on life support.
The Bulldogs had squandered a 1-0 lead in Saturday’s (May 3) Division II state-tournament opener, allowing host Peoria to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, the last two coming on two throwing errors on the same play.
Queen Creek stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh, perhaps for one last time.
The leadoff hitter popped out, but things then started to turn around.
A single to left field, followed by a single to right in which the center fielder and right fielder collided and the ball dropped in. A fielder’ s choice grounder made it two outs. A double by Ryann Holmes brought home one run and a wild pitch let in the tying run.
Peoria got a hit in the bottom of the seventh, but Queen Creek got out of it with a double play.
In the top of the ninth, Bailey Kuehl hit a leadoff single, was sacrificed to second but looked like she would remain there. With two outs, Holmes smacked another double over the center fielder’s head, and that gave Queen Creek all it needed for a 4-3 victory.
No. 17 seed Queen Creek (24-6) advances to the second round on Tuesday (May 6) and will travel to face top-seeded Buckeye Verrado (25-2) at 4 p.m. No. 16 seed Peoria finished at 27-4.
“Now is when it starts. Everybody was 0-0 and now we’re 1-0,’’ said Queen Creek coach Katie Bundy. “We don’t know much about Verrado, but all I know is that we’re going to come in and play the game as hard as we can.’’
Queen Creek pitcher Madi Merrell and Peoria pitcher Tiana Salazar were locked in a duel most of the day. Both pitchers went the distance, Merrell striking out eight and Salazar six.
Merrell, one of only four seniors on the Queen Creek roster, knew what it meant to her teammates for the season to continue, Bundy said.
Merrell buckled down and figured in the final three outs of the game in the ninth. She got the leadoff hitter on a grounder back to the circle, struck out the second batter and snagged a drive in the air to end it.
Bundy said the big plays were Lexi Valenzuela’s sacrifice and Holmes’ double.
Did Bundy think the ball was going over the center fielder’s head?
“Yes . . . well, I was hoping,’’ she said.
- Dave Zorn - Saturday June 14Host of the Friday Night Wrap-Up Show, Dave Zorn, joins the show to talk about why he is leaving.
- Chuck Schmidt - Saturday June 14AIA Executive Director, Chuck Schmidt, joins the show to talk about everything AIA.
- Blake Jackson - Saturday June 7Gilbert High School, Scottsdale Community College and Oklahoma State alum, Blake Jackson joins the s
- Casey Benson - Saturday June 7Three Time State Champion PG for Corona Del Sol, Casey Benson, joins the show.
- June 14, 2014 - Hour: 2In this hour Jim and Craig talk to Chuck Schmidt and Dave Zorn.
- June 14, 2014 - Hour: 1In this hour Jim and Craig talk to 3 TV's Tyler Baldwin and Az Central's Richard Obert.
- June 7, 2014 - Hour: 1Arizona Sports Preps 365, in this hour Sammy Chagolla, Bryce Perkins and Ky Westbrook join the show.
- June 7, 2014 - Hour: 2In this hour Cole Tucker, Casey Benson and Blake Jackson join the show.
- May 31, 2014 - Hour: 1Arizona Sports Preps 365 Show, bringing the latest in high school sports around the state.