No. 1 Salpointe going for record fifth straight softball title in game against No. 2 Greenway

Salpointe’s Jordan Goedel is greeted at home plate after belting a grand slam in the first inning against Paradise Honors (Javier Morales/AllSportsTucson.com)

No. 1 Salpointe, in the 4A state championship again after Thursday’s 8-0 win over No. 6 Surprise Paradise Honors, is in position to match the most impressive title run in Arizona’s history of high school softball.

The Lancers (34-1) can duplicate Mesa Red Mountain’s record five-year championship streak from 2010 to 2014 with a victory over No. 2 Phoenix Greenway (30-3) in Tuesday’s 4A state championship game at Hillenbrand Stadium at 8 p.m.

The game will follow the 3A state championship matchup between No. 1 Sabino and No. 2 Empire at 5:30 p.m.

Salpointe has won four straight championships — 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022 (COVID-19 claimed the 2020 season).

The Lancers are going for their seventh championship overall.

Tricia Sztan, who played for Salpointe’s first state championship team in 1993 under coach Stacy Iveson, will try to win her second straight title as head coach of her alma mater.

“Greenway’s got a good team, gosh they’ve got a great record, (and) they’ve got a great pitcher,” Sztan said of the Demons’ Kaitlyn Terry, who has committed to UCLA. “We’re going to definitely grind it out the next couple of days and get ready for Greenway.”

Greenway should be equally concerned about Salpointe’s BYU commit Gianna Mares.

The senior is 9-0 with a 0.61 ERA with 118 strikeouts and 13 walks in 69 1/3 innings this season. She has 29 wins and a 1.38 ERA in her four-year varsity career with the Lancers.

Mares pitched the complete-game shutout against Paradise Honors in the semifinal matchup Thursday, limiting the Panthers to four hits. She had 13 strikeouts and one walk.

“Such a cool opportunity to experience and play for a team that can win this many times,” said Mares, who was the winning pitcher last year when Salpointe topped CDO in the 4A championship game.

“Honestly, I just love it. It’s cool to fight for a state championship every year and always be up there with the big dogs.”

Terry is 26-2 with 0.21 ERA this season. She has an incredible 411 strikeouts with 12 walks in 170 1/3 innings.

In the 4-3 win over CDO in the 4A semifinals on Thursday night, Terry allowed three hits and no earned runs with 15 strikeouts and no walks.

Terry is batting an unfathomable .706 with 23 home runs, seven triples, seven doubles and 68 RBIs.

Mares’ also-impressive hitting production: .500 with 15 home runs, six triples, nine doubles and 57 RBIs.

Mares has not carried the entire load of the Lancers’ innings this season with Arianna Flores (1.24 ERA in 45 innings) and Alexis Guzman (1.64 ERA in 42 2/3 innings) relied on heavily this season by Sztan.

“They come out for each other and they play for Salpointe,” Sztan said of her team. “That helps them compete at that high level.”

Salpointe showed Paradise Honors that level from the beginning in the first inning rallying for seven runs on five hits to take control of the game.

Jae Castillo and Krista Martinez each had RBI singles and another run scored on a wild pitch before Jordan Goedel belted a grand slam, the first of her varsity career as a junior.

Goedel finished 2 for 4 with a run and four RBIs.

“For me, I’ve learned you need to be aggressive,” said Goedel, a junior playing in her first varsity season. “You can’t be scared of the pitcher. You just have to really go at it and don’t be scared even after striking out because your whole team is there to support you if you do.”

Paradise Honors senior starter Samara Romero settled down and did not allow a hit in the second through fourth innings.

Anyssa Wild broke a stretch of nine out of 10 batters retired by Romero with a leadoff double in the fifth.

Castillo followed with another RBI single to increase the lead to 8-0.

Although the Lancers barely outscored Paradise Honors 1-0 in the last six innings, Sztan was encouraged that Mares prevented the Panthers from rallying and her team maintained control of the game.

“I struggled a little bit in the middle and had my moments, of course,” Mares said. “It wasn’t my best performance but I still came through when I needed to.”

Of her matchup against Greenway and Taylor, Mares said, “We’re super excited. People know K.T. (Taylor) really well, so we’re excited to play against her and see what we can do off her.”

Mares has started two of Salpointe’s four playoff games this postseason and has pitched in all of them. Flores started in the first-round 6-1 win over Seton Catholic and Guzman was the starter in the circle of the 10-4 victory over Sahuarita in the second round.

Mares pitched complete games in the 5-3 win over CDO in the quarterfinals and the victory over Paradise Honors in the semifinals.

Her postseason pitching stats: 19 innings, 11 hits allowed, three runs (one earned), two walks and 35 strikeouts. She is 2-0 with a 0.37 ERA.


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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