The Buckeye Verrado dugout erupted with excitement when Stephanie Pinson hit the ball down the right field line.
It would have increased the Vipers’ lead to three runs in the fifth inning of their Division II softball elimination bracket game against Phoenix Greenway on Tuesday night (May 13) at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
“We could have sworn it kicked up some chalk,’’ said Verrado coach Rich Stringer of the play that was ruled a foul ball.
When plays like that occur, you just never know if you will get another chance.
But Pinson did get another chance, and she made the most of it.
She hit another ball to right and this time it was fair. The single brought home two runs to highlight a four-run inning – all runs scoring with two outs. Top-seeded Verrado added two more in the sixth and held off a Greenway rally in the seventh for a 10-7 victory.
Verrado (28-3) will play for the third straight night on Wednesday (May 14) in the double-elimination tourney. It will face No. 4 seed Tucson Canyon del Oro at 6:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford. The winner will advance, and the loser will go home. CDO survived with a 10-0 win in five innings over Marana on Tuesday night in Tucson.
“You’ve got to come back and find ways to win,’’ Stringer said, referring to a loss to Tucson Ironwood Ridge on Monday night (May 12).
“We just want to play on May 19 (championship game). We’re a year older, more mature than last season (when the team was eliminated). The girls believe in each other.’’
The teams traded runs, back and forth, over the first three innings. Greenway, the 11th seed, took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth on a home run by left fielder Robyn Rall. She made a great catch in the second inning to rob Isabel Flores of a home run. Rall caught the ball in front of the portable fence and tumbled over, holding onto the ball.
Verrado led 8-5 after the big fifth. The Vipers got two more in the sixth on a leadoff home run by Shea Smith and a run-scoring single by Pinson’s sister, Jamie.
The two extra runs gave the Vipers a five-run cushion instead of three.
Greenway gave it a strong effort to come back in the seventh, scoring on a pair of fielder’s choice grounders, but the deficit proved to be too much.