Bears’ run at state softball title over with loss in semifinals
PHOENIX — The 2019 season may be over for 4A’s third-seeded Bradshaw Mountain softball team, but the Bears had nothing to hang their heads about on Saturday, May 11.
Top-seeded defending state champion Salpointe Catholic eliminated Bradshaw Mountain, 2-1, in the 4A state semifinals at the Rose Mofford Softball Complex, ending a phenomenal run by the Bears.
Grand Canyon region champion Bradshaw Mountain concluded the spring with an impressive 34-3 overall record. The Bears compiled a 3-2 mark at state, climbing out of the losers’ bracket to make a push after a second-round loss at home.
“We have unfinished business next year,” said Bears coach Sharon Haese, who should return all but one of her players from this year’s roster in 2020.
On Saturday, Bradshaw Mountain starting junior pitchers Jacie Hambrick and Caitlynn Neal performed well. Salpointe scored a run apiece in the first and second innings and made its slim lead stick. A Bears error in the second inning plated an unearned run for a 2-0 Salpointe advantage.
Hambrick took the loss on the pitcher’s slab, allowing six hits and striking out four.
“Jacie kept batters off-balance and she pitched a great game,” Haese said. “Minus the miscue in the second inning, we made some tremendous defensive plays.”
Bradshaw Mountain scored its lone run when Kirsten Schmidt crossed home plate on a bases-loaded walk with one out in the seventh inning. The Bears couldn’t manage to bring across the tying run, however.
The Lancers, who remain undefeated at 22-0 in power-point games this season, will play for the state championship on Tuesday, May 14, at a to-be-determined time and place.
Salpointe Catholic will battle No. 2 seed and defending 4A state runner-up Cactus (23-1) for the second straight year in the title game. Cactus came out of the losers’ bracket to defeat No. 6 seed Canyon del Oro twice on Saturday, 9-3 and 7-2, to advance.
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.