Desert Vista's softball team improved its winning streak to a modest four games on Monday afternoon and has won six of its last seven as it attempts to climb the power-ranking ladder in Division I.
First-year coach K'Lee Arredondo's team erupted for eight runs in the fifth and seven more in the sixth for a 16-4 triumph over Pinnacle at Pinnacle Park.
“We're playing together andbeginning to gel,” Arredondo, a former McClintock High and UofA standout, said. “It's timely hitting, good pitching. All the things you need to do to win.”
The Lady Thunder are young. Arredondo started six freshmen, two sophomores, a junior and senior on Monday. They were on the short end of a 3-1 score after four innings, but made up for the lack of runs over the next two frames.
Desert Vista sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth and scored eight times for a 9-3 lead. Tyra Craig, one of the freshmen in the lineup, tripled and single in two runs in the inning. Also collecting two RBI in the frame were freshman Kaylee Dietrich and junior Madison Kelly.
Desert Vista's assault on Pinnacle starter Bailey Brennan and reliever Kristina Slayton continued to the tune of seven runs in the sixth with 11 more batters taking a turn. The two-RBI hitters in the sixth were freshman Kiara Kennedy, sophomore Marissa Moreno and freshman MacKenzie Moore.
“Our goal at the beginning, like most teams is to make the playoffs and win,” Arrendondo said. “To do that you need to see improvement from the first day to May 17 if you can get that far. We have seen steady improvement.”
Desert Vista, which pounded out 18 hits in the game, has won pretty much by alternating two pitchers — Monday's winner sophomore Brooke Hughes and senior Kylee Wiegl. In the current 6-1 stretch Hughes is 3-0 and Wiegl is 3-1. Desert Vista is 10-7 overall and 7-4 in power-ranking games. The Lady Thunder were No. 15 in the power-rankings on Monday.
Pinnacle has endured an up-and-down season with not many close games. Monday was another example. The Lady Pioneers are 10-9 overall and 4-3 in power-ranking games. They were No. 10 at the start of play this week. Coach Ben Frank's team will be one of the busiest over the next month with 11 games in the next 22 days. Pinnacle played last Thursday and Friday again on Monday and play Tuesday (April 8) at home against Boulder Creek. Every week the rest of the way will be three-game weeks for the Lady Pioneers.
“We've run-ruled teams or been run-ruled ourselves in a lot of our games,” Frank said. “We're not going to overpower opponents with pitching. We have to play defense and hit.”
Pinnacle collected 10 hits on Monday and left eight runners on base. Its downfall before Desert Vista began whacking everything in sight was not extending its 3-1 lead in the fourth. Pinnacle loaded the bases with no outs in its half of the fourth, but a force out at home followed by 1-2-3 double play posted a zero rather than a crooked number that may have changed the psyche of both teams at the time.