Class 4A top-ranked Salpointe shines in pressure-filled game with No. 4 CDO

Salpointe improved to 18-2 overall and 3-0 in the 4A Kino with its win over CDO on Wednesday (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

Salpointe Catholic not only seized the moment, it took command of the 4A Kino region, with its 14-3 win in five innings over host CDO on Wednesday afternoon in a battle of two powers in the state.

The Lancers, the top-ranked team among 4A teams, had their sights on playing the rival Dorados “all season, from the beginning,” said standout senior shortstop Logan Cole, who symbolized how ready they were for the challenge by going 4-for-4 with a two-run double.

“It shows that we have a lot of determination and that we play as a team together,” said Cole, an Arizona signee, about the Lancers’ 11 hits matched with Gianna Mares’ effective performance in the circle.

Mares (9-0 with a 2.00 ERA) scattered seven hits and struck out four with no walks in her five innings. She also went 2 for 3 with a two-run double.

Salpointe’s No. 9 batter, Krista Martinez, went 2 for 3 with two runs and five RBIs — three coming on a home run in the fourth that opened an 8-0 lead.

“I think everyone in this lineup can play; we’re a great team all around,” said Martinez, a junior who matched her career high in RBIs (she also had five in last year’s season opener against Phoenix St. Mary’s).

“I mean, one through nine, it’s a solid team so never underestimate us,” Martinez added.

Salpointe, winners of 14 of its last 15 games, improved to 18-2 overall and 3-0 in the 4A Kino.

The Lancers were facing a CDO team that had not lost in its previous 10 games. Their 14 runs is more than the 13 runs the Dorados allowed in that 10-game stretch.

CDO is now 22-2-1 overall and 3-1 in the 4A Kino.

Salpointe first-year coach Tricia Sztan, who won a state title as a player with the Lancers in 1993, has kept the program at a dominant level after taking over for Amy Baray-Rocha, who resigned after last season.

The Lancers won three consecutive state titles, including last year’s unbeaten season at 24-0, under Baray-Rocha.

Sztan shifted from coaching the junior varsity level to the varsity.

She mentioned that the way her team is performing “is the reason you wake up every morning.”

“You hope that your team shows up and plays the way they know how to play,” she said. “They’re exciting to watch. They love to live for the moments when the pressure is on them. … They wait for those pressure-filled moments and really shine. … What they do for each other that comes together on this field is dynamite.”

Dynamite is an appropriate word because of the explosiveness Salpointe showed from the start with its lineup.

Cole got things started in the first inning with a one-out single that was followed by Alyssa Wild’s triple that scored Cole. Jordan Johnson then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Wild.

Salpointe scored three more runs in the second inning to build the lead to 5-0 behind Martinez’s RBI single and Cole’s two-run double.

“This team has really good chemistry,” Cole said when asked to compare the Lancers with last year’s unbeaten team. “We want to win for each other, not just for ourselves.

“We just want to win a state championship and that’s what we’re out here trying to do.”

Martinez’s three-run home run in the fourth built the lead to 8-0.

“At first, I was like, ‘I don’t know’ — it was kind of like a linedrive,” said Martinez, whose home run trot was actually a jubilant sprint around the bases. “I didn’t know it was going over but after I was super happy for our team. CDO is a rival. To come out here and take them yard was the best thing that could happen.”

Salpointe scored six more runs in the fifth taking advantage of CDO’s three errors in the inning.

Mares ignited the rally with her two-run double when the bases were loaded after Wild reached on a fielding error and moved to third following Johnson’s walk and Monique Bustamante’s single.

CDO avoided the shutout in the bottom of the fifth behind a two-run home run by Naya Campos and an RBI single by Lauren Newlin.

The teams have a rematch April 21, when Salpointe hosts the Dorados. They each have eight games remaining in the regular season.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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