Desert Ridge's seven-game winning streak appeared to have a reasonable chance to become eight Monday afternoon, but that bid ultimately ended with a thud.
Gilbert scored 12 runs in the final four innings with a mixture of hits and miscues by Desert Ridge in posting an easy 12-2 romp in a Division I softball game matching top-10 teams at Desert Ridge.
“This was a total off day,” Desert Ridge coach Jennifer Broderick said. “We played with no confidence. We haven't had a game like this all year.”
Desert Ridge's worse loss prior to Monday was a 6-1 decision to Raymond Kellis. In its seven-game winning streak it allowed just six runs total. Desert Ridge was No. 8 in the power-rankings when play began Monday
Gilbert, ranked third in the D-I power rankings, took a few innings to become a streak breaker. The Lady Tigers collected no runs or hits in the first three innings and went down on strikes seven times to Desert Ridge's hard-throwing lefty Bailey Klitzke in that span. Gilbert coach Shaundra Gutierrez was wondering at the time if that would be the Lady Tigers' destiny for the day considering how hot Desert Ridge had been.
“I was getting nervous,” Gutierrez said. “We weren't doing much. We did get it going. It was good to be in a pressure situation, and be able to come through it.”
Gilbert trailed 1-0 after three and a used a three-run, fourth inning to take the lead for the first time and to stay. Gilbert pieced together three singles and a walk in the fourth with pitcher Lynsey Duncan and Alex Astorga driving in runs with hits. Two more hits and an outfiield misplay in the fifth produced two more runs for a 5-1 lead. Desert Ridge pulled within 5-2 in the bottom of the inning on Courtney O'Brien's RBi single.
Gilbert (19-6 overall, 12-1 power-ranking games) finished off Desert Ridge with four runs in the sixth and three in the seventh. A thorn in Desert Ridge's side at the plate and in the field was Gilbert shortstop Dani Nelson .Nelson was 3-for 4 with a single, double and triple and drove in four runs.
On defense in the fifth inning with Desert Ridge (16-5-1, 9-3 prg) threatening, Nelson nabbed a line drive at face level and doubled up the runner at first, who hadn't strayed far. She also began the sixth making a diving stop to her left and throwing out the hitter at first. Desert Ridge had runners at first and second with noone out in the fifth. The double play started by Nelson and catcher Taylor McCord gunning down O'Brien at second after a play at the plate took the Lady Jaguars out of a possible big inning when the score was 5-2.
Gilbert's Duncan pitched her usual game. She scattered seven hits and did not walk or strike out a batter. Klitzke, who pitched most of the seven games won by Desert Ridge during its seven-game streak, finished with 12 strikeouts. She is 11-3 on the season.
Broderick told her team after the game they are in a good position in the power rankings, but it means nothing with the series of tough games left on Desert Ridge's schedule unless they can tally a couple wins. That slate of six games includes Basha, Hamilton Gilbert again, Red Mountain and Mountain Pointe.