The softball state tournament at the highest division may very well be renamed the Mesa Red Mountain Invitational.
After a 2-0 win over Mesa Mountain View Wednesday night at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix, Red Mountain is going to its fifth consecutive state title game.
Sixth-seeded Red Mountain (32-5) has won the past three.
“It’s what you work for,” Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton said. “We come out at the beginning of the year and have the same two goals every year. The first is to get into that game, the second is to win.”
No. 5 Mountain View (27-7) will play No. 14 Scottsdale Chaparral in the elimination bracket final on Friday for the right to play Red Mountain in Monday’s championship game.
Red Mountain scored both of its runs on Mountain View miscues. With two outs in the third inning and T.J. Beeson at first, Jordan Beck hit a single to deep left field. Beeson went for third base but the throw wasn’t caught and she was called safe. Beck was almost halfway to second and Mountain View tried to get her in a rundown but she was called safe at second. Then Beeson went for home and the throw sailed too high as Red Mountain took a 1-0 lead.
The lead doubled in the sixth when Alyssa Fernandez’s hit a pitch high and deep to right field but the ball wasn’t caught and instead hit the fence allowing McKenzy Gutierrez to score from first.
“That’s the way it bounces,” Hamilton said. “I think T.J. made a good slide in there, and I think that helps us. (On Fernandez’s double) It’s hard to give the kid an error on that.”
Said Mountain View coach Joe Goodman: “Unlike some of the other times when a defense makes a mistake, we brushed ourselves off. But we kept ourselves in it, all the way to the last minute. I thought we had a chance to win it.”
Mountain View left five runners on base as Red Mountain pitcher Breana Macha struck out nine, including the side in the second and third innings, and gave up three hits.