Bradshaw Mountain softball stays alive with win over Poston Butte
PHOENIX — The third-seeded Bradshaw Mountain softball team stayed alive in the double-elimination 4A state tournament on Saturday, May 4, edging No. 7 Poston Butte, 1-0, to move on in the losers bracket with a chance to qualify for the semifinals.
At Rose Mofford Softball Complex, the Bears won with effective small-ball tactics, walking off in the seventh inning.
Locking horns with Poston Butte ace pitcher Lindsey Lopez, who’s bound for Arizona State, Bradshaw Mountain’s Jacie Hambrick led off the final frame with a drag bunt and reached safely by beating the throw. Kirsten Schmidt then laid a bunt down the first-base line, which Poston Butte misplayed and scored Hambrick to end it.
Bears starting pitcher Caitlynn Neal was the player of the game, however, hurling a one-hit shutout, striking out 14 and issuing only one walk in seven innings.
Neal, who struggled in her start versus Canyon del Oro in Bradshaw Mountain’s second-round loss May 2 in Prescott Valley, bounced back nicely, not allowing a runner to reach second base Saturday. In the top of the seventh, Neal gave up a single, but she struck out the side — the Broncos’ Nos. 2 through 5 batters — to help seal the win.
At the dish for the Bears, Kassidy Outlaw, Hambrick, Layla Stouder and Shelby Dilcher each had a single.
Poston Butte, the Desert Sky region champion, finished its season with a 17-4 record in power-point games. Bradshaw Mountain improved to a whopping 33-2.
Bradshaw Mountain advances to a Round 3A losers’ bracket game at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9, at Rose Mofford in Phoenix.
The Bears tackle the loser of the 3A winners’ bracket semifinal pitting No. 1 Salpointe Catholic against No. 4 Mingus. That contest is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at Mofford.
Bradshaw Mountain must win four straight games to capture the program’s first state title since 1997.
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at email@example.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.