Phoenix Horizon softball coach Lindsey Collins was extra hard on her team this week in batting practice.
“The last three days we’ve been hitting and hitting and hitting because I wasn’t happy with where they were at,” Collins said.
The extra effort paid off Tuesday when the No. 8 seed put up six runs off seven hits in an explosive fifth inning that paved the way to an 8-3 victory over No. 9 Scottsdale Desert Mountain in the Division I softball tournament second round at Horizon High School.
Horizon (27-4) faces top-seeded Glendale Mountain Ridge at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.
Horizon entered the inning trailing 3-1. With runners on first and third, Margaret Stahm hit a two-run triple that tied the game. Stahm also made it home on an overthrown ball to give Horizon a 4-3 lead.
“After that, I knew the hits were going to start rolling in,” Collins said. “That was a big, uplifting event for the dugout.”
In all, Horizon had three singles, three doubles and Stahm’s triple in the fifth inning. Kaila Jacobi got caught in a rundown after Katie Gore hit an infield grounder that was scooped up by Desert Mountain pitcher Andy Wellins, but managed to escape and score a run in the process. Gore also made it home on that play amid the confusion to move the score to 6-3. An RBI single by Angelique Pitt gave Horizon a four-run lead heading into the sixth inning.
“We’re a fifth inning team lately,” Collins said. “I knew they still had fight in them. I switched up the lineup, and I’m glad I did today.”
The lineup change put pitcher T Statman in the leadoff position for Horizon. She started off the fifth inning for Horizon and had a double and a single that inning. Statman went 3 for 3 at the plate with a walk. She pitched a complete game and allowed three runs off eight hits while striking out nine batters. She also walked two batters and hit two with pitches.
Collins said her poise on the field makes her natural leader.
“No one even looks at her like a sophomore,” she said. “My seniors look up to her.”
Desert Mountain (24-9) had beaten Horizon in the teams’ previous two meetings this season.
“It was revenge,” Statman said. “We can’t lose to a team three times.”
Desert Mountain’s offense was led by Bridget Jones, who had a two-run single in the fifth inning.