Division I softball state championship
Who: No. 1 Glendale Mountain Ridge vs. No. 2 Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Farrington Stadium, Tempe.
Key players: Alyssa DiCarlo, Sr., SS, Mountain Ridge; Giselle Juarez, Jr., P, Mountain Ridge; Justyce McClain, Sr., OF, Sandra Day O’Connor; Brooke Brown, Jr., P, Sandra Day O’Connor.
Road to the final: Mountain Ridge (31-4) has been a steady, consistent force of late, coming in having won its last 18 games. It proved it can handle drama, too, beating Phoenix Xavier Prep 7-3 in the semifinals on a walk-off grand slam by Alyssa DiCarlo. Mountain Ridge will now look to claim the program’s first state championship after falling to Mesa Red Mountain in the final last season. Sandra Day O’Connor (35-7) had to take a long, harrowing road through the losers’ bracket after being defeated by Phoenix Pinnacle in the third round. It hung tough to win four straight elimination games, needing extra innings to knock off Phoenix Desert Vista and then beating Xavier 9-2 to punch its ticket to the final. Each team shut out the other once during the regular season, with O’Connor winning 10-0 on March 6 and Mountain Ridge prevailing 2-0 on April 24.
Quotable: “We have finished in the top five for six seasons in a row. But this is our year to finally win it all. ‘One more’ has been our theme all year. … And it is time for ‘one more’ win.” – Mountain Ridge coach Michele Markham
PHOTOS: State softball tournaments