Superior tops San Manuel for Division IV high school softball championship

Superior celebrates winning the Division IV Softball Championship Game over San Manuel in Tempe, AZ on May 11, 2015.during the Division IV Softball Championship Game in Tempe, AZ on May 11, 2015.

Superior celebrates winning the Division IV Softball Championship Game over San Manuel in Tempe, AZ on May 11, 2015.during the Division IV Softball Championship Game in Tempe, AZ on May 11, 2015.

Phalicitee Thomas’ nickname isn’t exactly synonymous with being a power hitter.

But Thomas, affectionately known as “Pinky” to loved ones and friends, showed plenty of pop in her bat when the Superior center fielder slugged a two-run home run over the wall in left-center field in the sixth inning, the big hit in Superior’s 3-0 win over San Manuel for the Division IV state softball championship.

Thomas broke open a tight, well-pitched title game with the home run, then stepped out of the dugout at ASU’s Farrington Softball Stadium to point to her mother, Evelyn, cheering in the stands.

“It felt so good,” Thomas said, the smile never leaving her face. “I never really got nervous even when we stepped on the field. I seen it (the) pitch down and outside.”

Related: Division IV softball title game scouting report

Superior (18-5) dethroned two-time defending state champion San Manuel, which finished its season 23-7.

Superior got a complete game, four-hit shutout from pitcher Ivie Lopez, who ran into her most serious trouble in the bottom of the sixth when San Manuel loaded the bases with two out.

Lopez walked two in the inning, but got San Manuel’s Nicole Encinas to line out to shortstop to end the threat. Lopez struck out six and walked a total of four in the game.

“Once I saw it (the home run) go over, I knew ‘We got this,’ ” Lopez said. “We played them before and we knew what they were like.”

Superior scored in its first at-bats, with leadoff batter Jalisa Murray beating out an infield hit, taking second base on a ground out and scoring on Cierra Navarrette’s line single up the middle.

Photos: High school softball state tournaments – 2015

Superior lost a chance to build on its slim lead in the fourth, when a single and hit batter put runners on first and second with two out. Angelina Vasquez, the No. 9 hitter in the order, singled sharply to center field, but San Manuel center fielder Angela Navarro threw home to get Thomas at the plate.

San Manuel catcher Felicia Medina applied the swipe tag to prevent the run and end the inning.

Superior received solid defense from shortstop Gabby Salcido, who made two diving catches. Left fielder Ariana San Miguel stole a hit with a sliding catch in the bottom of the fourth.

San Manuel might have gotten a rally started in the bottom of the fifth if not for a close call that went against it. Leadoff batter Encinas slapped the ball to shallow left field beyond the reach of the infielders and in front of the left fielder and was rounding first base for a double before the umpire at third base called it a foul ball.

It appeared that the ball hit the chalk that formed the foul line, making it a fair ball, but the ruling was upheld.

More: Complete high schools coverage

“We had the toughest road to get here,” Superior coach Martin Navarrette said. “We earned it.”

San Manuel left 10 runners on base in the loss. Pitcher Lyana Waddell allowed three runs on seven hits and struck out four.

“We’re better hitters than that,” San Manuel coach Deanne Brewer said. “It’s an honor to be here, obviously. We’re just a little disappointed because we thought we’d come out a little better.”

Lopez retired the side in order to end the game, touching off a wild celebration at the pitcher’s circle and in the stands for the Superior supporters who made the hour-long drive west to Tempe.

“It’s memories forever,” Martin Navarrette said. “And to do it against a team like that, it’s sweet.”

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