Ironwood Ridge advances after shutout win over Cactus

Ironwood Ridge advances after shutout win over Cactus

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Ironwood Ridge advances after shutout win over Cactus

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Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge was like a tidal wave Tuesday, rising slowly through the first three innings as it built a comfortable 5-0 lead over Glendale Cactus.

Two innings later, everything came crashing down for No. 11 Cactus as No. 4 Ironwood Ridge put up five runs off six hits, run-ruling Cactus in five innings and claiming a 10-0 victory in a Division II state playoff elimination game at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.

Ironwood Ridge will face No. 2 seed Oro Valley Canyon del Oro Wednesday in another elimination game.

Merilee Miller scored first in the big fifth inning for Ironwood Ridge, coming home on a sac fly by Alexis Clinton and Erin Rocker hit a two-run double to move the score to 8-0 with only one out. A single by Lexi Adelberg tacked another run on the board and three batters later, Reina Bondi hit a one-run single to stretch the lead to 10-0 and ended the game.

Ironwood Ridge coach Randy Anway said once the offense got hot, it focused on ending the game in the fifth inning. A balanced lineup took care of business.

“As a team we have the best mixes of speed and power that we’ve ever had,” Anway said. “Really, (batters) 3-8 have been pretty solid. We don’t put our stats out there, but they all have 4-7 home runs each.”

A two-run single by Crista Braunreiter in the bottom of the first gave Ironwood Ridge its first lead of the game and doubles by Clinton and Rocker knocked three more runs in during the third inning to move the score to 5-0 heading into the fourth.

Ironwood Ridge pitcher Emily Robinson allowed four hits off of 20 batters in five innings. She was surrounded by a solid defense and said everything seemed to be working for Ironwood Ridge Tuesday.

“It was just on tonight. My team was making the plays and getting the runs. It was easy,” she said. “That makes it easy.”

The shutout victory is a big confidence boost for Ironwood Ridge as it heads into its matchup against Canyon del Oro. The defending champions knocked Ironwood Ridge out of the playoffs last year in the semifinals. The teams have already met twice this season with Canyon del Oro winning both contests.

“It’s revenge time for them,” Robinson said.

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