2024 Softball

CDO heading into state playoffs on a roll, including beating nemesis Salpointe

Canyon del Oro’s softball team has swept rival Salpointe in three games this season, following Friday’s 4-0 victory on the Lancers’ field, but longtime coach Kelly Fowler knows that meaningful accomplishment is only a small part of the big picture.

This is the case even though Salpointe won seven consecutive games over Fowler’s Dorados the previous two seasons, including the 2022 4A state championship game.

Winning overall, establishing better power ratings, jockeying for the best possible position for the state playoffs is paramount in Fowler’s quest for CDO’s first state title since 2017.

Fowler — 339-66-1 in 13 seasons as CDO’s coach — monitors success through the development of her players, who have strung together 13 consecutive wins.

“High school softball is all over the place and it’s tough to keep yourself at a high level just because you play so many games you don’t get to practice,” Fowler said. “Last week, we had four games; this week, a bunch of games.

“But the girls, I’m so proud of them. They’re very mature.”

CDO is No. 4 in the 4A power ratings with a 28-2 overall record (champions of the 4A Kino at 7-0). Salpointe (25-3, 6-2) is rated No. 3 with all three of its losses to CDO.

Mesa Eastmark (25-3) is presently No. 1 and Phoenix Arcadia (25-4-1) is No. 2.

Eastmark lost to Salpointe 2-0 on March 15 and Arcadia has not played either the Lancers or Dorados. Arcadia lost to Eastmark 3-1 on March 8.

The 4A state championship can very well come down to CDO and Salpointe again for the second time in three years.

Salpointe beat CDO in the championship in 2022 when current Dorado ace Amelia Streuber was a freshman.

Streuber was 11-3 with a 2.13 ERA that season.

This year, she is 16-0 with a 0.57 ERA.

An Oregon State commit as one of the top Class of 2025 prospects in the state, she has 131 strikeouts and just 15 walks in 109 2/3 innings with only nine earned runs allowed.

“It’s just been so much fun; I just love this team and the energy that they bring,” Streuber said. “In this game (Friday against Salpointe), everyone was hyped. We were making up new cheers. It’s just a really good.

“I have loved this season and all of the people who are involved with it.”

Streuber allowed only two hits in her complete-game shutout of the Lancers. She struck out nine and did not allow a walk.

Taya Kelly, another junior leader for Fowler, led the Dorados with two hits. One of them, a single, contributed to CDO scoring its first run in the top of the second.

Emma Shaffer, a freshman, led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on Kelly’s hit.

With two outs, Sammy Hudgens, also a junior, singled to center field to score Shaffer.

“We just went up there to get a hit, took advantage of the (six Salpointe) errors and advanced on the bases when we could,” Kelly said.

CDO parlayed three errors and a wild pitch by the Lancers in the fourth inning to score two more runs.

Fowler credited CDO’s speed on the basepaths for Salpointe’s throwing errors that included unsuccessfully trying to get runners out at second on ground balls.

“We have some kids who can run 2.6 (seconds) down the line,” Fowler said. “They just create chaos. It makes you rush your throw. That’s what happened.”

Three more errors in the seventh led to CDO’s last run.

Salpointe’s Macee Jackson pitched well, allowing only five hits in seven innings with just one earned run. She struck out six and walked one.

Another matchup between Jackson and Streuber might take place at Hillenbrand Stadium for the 4A state title in coming weeks.

Two of Southern Arizona’s top softball programs would embrace that possibility because it will mean either can add on to their championship lore.

Fowler has guided CDO to titles in 2005, 2011 and 2017.

Salpointe’s Tricia Sztan won state titles in her first two seasons as the Lancers’ coach in 2022 and last year. A former Salpointe standout, Sztan is 92-6 in her three seasons leading the program.

Streuber said CDO’s success against Salpointe this season as opposed to her first two years “is just kind of like surreal.”

“My freshman year we would come here and I was so nervous and we lost,” she said. “I kind of had PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) going into this game. Now, it’s kind of like clarity and closure.”

CDO and Salpointe will likely be among the top eight rated 4A teams in the state and will bypass the play-in round that is Wednesday. They will host a first-round game next Saturday barring the unforeseen.

In the final regular season games for both on Monday, CDO hosts Pueblo and Salpointe travels to Walden Grove.


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 in 2016 and is presently a special education teacher at Sunnyside High School in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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