Freshman Rion Simms was looking for some way, any way, to give her team and advantage.
She did that and then some. Simms ripped a two-out, three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning, and pitcher Brook Hughes made it stand with a shutout to lead Phoenix Desert Vista to a 3-0 win over Phoenix Pinnacle in a Division I softball tournament elimination game Wednesday night.
Desert Vista advances to play Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Thursday at the Rose Mofford Complex for the right to advance to the semifinals on Friday.
Pinnacle pitcher CC Cook had a perfect game through five innings before Kaylee Dietrich broke it up with a single. After a sacrifice, walk and lineout, Simms broke open a tight game.
“I think she just missed a spot (with the pitch),” Simms said. “I was getting frustrated. I just had to figure out a way to contribute to the team.”
Desert Vista coach Felipe Becerra said Simms plays beyond her youth.
“She’s a freshman that plays like a senior,” Becerra said. “She’s been a workhorse all year.”
Whitney Chamberlain helped advance Peoria Sunrise Mountain into the next round of the Division II playoffs with a two-out, run-scoring single in the top of the eighth inning against Oro Valley Canyon del Oro. Chamberlain laced a 3-2 pitch with runners on first and third bases and Sunrise Mountain went on to win 2-1. In the other Division II elimination game, Glendale Cactus got a three-run home run from Emilie Guerra in the top of the seventh inning, the big hit in an 8-3 2 win over Goodyear Desert Edge, the No. 1 seed.
An error helped Sandra Day O’Connor take a 3-0 en route to a 4-2 win over Phoenix Mountain Pointe. Hughes struck out six, walked three and gave up three hits in her shutout of Pinnacle. “I was telling myself I’m going to out-pitch her,” Hughes said of Pinnacle’s Cook. “I’m not going to be the one to make the mistake.”
In Division I, No. 8 Desert Vista takes on No. 2 Sandra Day O’Connor on Thursday, with the winner facing the loser of top-seeded Glendale Mountain Ridge and No. 3 Phoenix Xavier Prep on Friday in a semifinal. In Division II, the Cactus-Sunrise Mountain winner from Thursday takes on the Cienega-Tucson Salpoine Catholic loser on Friday.
PHOTOS: Softball state tournaments