Phoenix — The No. 3 Canyon del Oro softball team is returning to the 4A semifinals after picking up a huge win over No. 7 Mingus Union on Saturday night in Phoenix. Scoring ten unanswered runs in six innings to enact the mercy rule, the Dorados were one step closer towards playing in the Championship game as they cruised to an easy victory.
“I am so proud of the kids because they just kept it coming,” Dorados coach Kelly Fowler said. “It was constant. It was a constant barrage of hitting and they didn’t let up and they were focused.”
Canyon del Oro started the game out by taking a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, quickly establishing dominance and setting the tone for the game.
Both the second and third innings were relatively quiet, but the Dorados decided it was time to strike in the bottom of the fourth. Starting things off was senior Isabella Beauchamp, who reached second base on an error. A strikeout in the lineup gave the Dorados their first out of the inning, sending senior Naya Campos up to bat next. Campos slapped down an RBI-double, extending the score to 5-0. Molly Herman came in to run for Campos.
A sacrifice bunt by senior Zaedi Tagalog was able to advance Herman to third, but Tagalog was tagged out at first. Senior Megan Clark followed up with yet another RBI-double for the Dorados, making it 6-0.
Fowler noted she believes the girls were able to get more comfortable as the game went on as they were able to settle in and see what the pitcher brought to the mound.
“When you see the same pitcher by your second or third at-bat, you start feeling more comfortable with yourself, and the kids talked about that in the dugout,” Fowler said.
Senior Julia Holt was next up to bat. Standing near the third base bag, Coach Fowler knew Holt was ready to make a big play.
“Go find it,” Fowler said to Holt.
And finding it, she did. Holt hit an absolute monster of a home run, extending the score to 8-0.
“All game, [Fowler] was telling me ‘inside,’ so I felt pretty confident at the plate because I’m good at taking inside pitches out,” Hold said. “I kind of felt it all game so when it left my bat, I already knew it was out.”
“I was like,’OMG! A lead off on a change up, and you hit it 220, wow,’” Fowler said.
After Holt’s at bat, Mingus was able to pick up the remaining two outs needed to close out the bottom of the fourth inning.
Things in the fifth remained quiet, as did the top of the sixth, but Canyon del Oro wasn’t done yet. Able to pick up an additional two runs, the Dorados were able to extend the lead to 10-0 in the bottom of the sixth and put a wrap on it.
“All of the work they’ve been doing since February came together, and it peaked perfectly,” Fowler said.
For the Dorados, a win by this magnitude was huge, but also not totally unexpected given the high level of competition the Dorados face all year long.
“In our conference we see really good pitching,” Fowler said. “It’s kind of funny because I don’t know if Phoenix understands how good [Tucson] is at softball… Every year we hold our own big time.”
“It really shows that it is really different in Southern Arizona for softball, and you don’t really see it until you get up [to Phoenix],” Holt said.
The Dorados will return to Phoenix to play in the 4A Semifinals next Thursday, May 12. The game starts at 5:30 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex, and the Dorados will play the winner of Tuesday’s game between No. 5 Coconino and No. 4 Paradise Honors.
“We just need to stick to our game plan and not let it get bigger than it is,” Holt said. “We’re one of the best teams, if not the best, in Southern Arizona and we need to play like that. We need to act like it, so for us it’s just about confidence,” Holt said.
“They’re in it to win it,” Fowler said. “We have so many kids, and they’re so close. We’ve had zero drama, because they truly love each other. It sounds really cliche, but they really do.”
Brittany Bowyer is a freelance journalist who started her career as an intern for a small sports website back in 2015. Since then, she’s obtained her master’s degree in Sports Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU and is in her fourth year of covering various levels of sports across a broad range of platforms in Arizona. You can follow her on twitter @LittWithBritt