For Oro Valley Canyon del Oro, Saturday’s Division II tournament elimination game was a chance to make a statement.
A proclamation that the Division II defending champions are far from done.
No. 2 Canyon del Oro scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning and ended the game with its 10th run in the sixth to beat No. 3 Glendale Raymond S. Kellis, 10-0, in the Division II tournament’s first round of elimination at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.
“Coming into this game, we knew we had to prove something going into the losers bracket again,” Canyon del Oro coach Stephanie Nicholson said. “Knowing that this team isn’t the same as last year’s team, we have to work a lot harder to get back to the championship game.
“We feel really good about our offense. That’s how our offense should produce every single time. It was good to see CDO come alive again.”
Kellis, which finished its season 24-8-1, also didn’t help itself in the first inning. Kellis’ defense committed four errors.
“I think it was nerves,” Raymond S. Kellis coach Shawn Sullivan said. “We talk about playing loose and just having fun but it (nerves) caught up to us.”
With one out, Rebecca Ziegler and Dominique Gonzalez reached first base on errors. Ziegler then scored on Makenzie Sullivan’s single to left field. Gonzalez and Sullivan would score on another error. Samantha Nettling, who singled, and Heather Knight scored on Kate Klotz’s single up the middle. Klotz and Carli Campbell, who reached base on another error, scored on Brenna Griesser’s double. Greisser would eventually score the inning’s eighth run.
Canyon de Oro made it 9-0 in the fourth. The game ended with one out in the bottom of the sixth via the 10-run mercy rule after Monique Castillo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
The early lead allowed Canyon del Oro’s Alexis Alfonso to settle down and pitch a one-hitter. Kellis’ one hit, from Madison Uden, didn’t come until there was one out in the top of the sixth.
“I’m just putting all of my heart out there to get a win for my team,” Alfonso said. “When we scored the first eight runs, it made me more comfortable. If we keep doing that, we’re going to win state.”