Basha is arguably as good a hitting team as there is in Division I softball. The Lady Bears bats were slowed quite a bit, however, on Friday night by Red Mountain.
Red Mountain pitcher Bre Macha yielded five hits and one earned run and teammate Alex Wiley was a triple short of the cycle as the Lady Lions topped Basha, 7-2, at Red Mountain.
Red Mountain (22-5-1 overall, 14-2 power-ranking games) has begun hitting better of late and it continued Friday with the Lady Lions collecting 11 hits. Basha (20-7, 13-4 prg), which has made a habit of late outslugging opponents, had an eight-game winning streak ended.. The teams are essentially assured of first-round byes at state (Red Mountain entered the game at No. 2 and Basha at No. 5) so Friday was a pre-tournament test of two of D-I's top teams.
“This was the most complete game we've played all year,” Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton said. “Our hitting is starting to come around. We hit the ball real well against Dobson the other day and did so again tonight. Lots of hard hit balls for hits. We did a good job at the plate.”
Center fielder Alex Wiley led Red Mountain's attack going 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBI. Wiley homered in the bottom of the first to erase a 1-0 deficit. She capped her team's scoring in the fifth with a two-run single. Wiley leads Red Mountain in RBI despite hitting second in the order most of the season.
Macha had to work harde than normal in the circle. She managed to strike out five and walked two, but got nearly flawless defense from her teammates. The lone error came on a throw in the top of the first on an attempted steal of third that allowed Basha's first run to score.
“We didn't make any mistakes,” Hamilton said. “Got doubled up at first on a line drive, but that one was hard to avoid. Our defense was solid. You look up and down that lineup and they can all hit. To hold them to two, we''ll take that.”
After Red Mountain tied the game at 1 in the first on Wiley's homer, two walks and two singles followed to add a run to cap the inning. Lindsey Steverson's infield hit off pitcher Linea Klemmedson's glove scored the run.
Red Mountain scored three more times in the fourth with Macha's two-run single and Beck's bloop single to center plating the runs. Red Mountain''s defense helped Macha in the fifth. Basha opened the inning with two hits, but third baseman McKenzy Gutierrez turned a 5-3 double play. A walk, hit batter and single by Courtney Hiruko made it 5-2. A second runner tried to score on Hiruko's hit, but was thrown out at home by right fielder Savannah Kirkpatrick.
Basha won its last four games by one run, including two earlier this week by scores of 10-9 over Perry and Centennial. The Lady Bears have plenty of power in their lineup having hit 29 homers this season. Six players have between three and six home runs. Basha had one extra-base hit on Friday — a double in the seventh by Allie Hancock.
Red Mountain has two games left — at Desert Ridge on Monday and home with Camelback on Tuesday. Basha closes the regular season on the road at Highland on Tuesday.