It's not a state championship run that Skyline's softball team is on, but it's one of those building blocks that sets such things up down the road.
Skyline capped a 6-0 stint over four days on Wednesday afternoon and defeated Vista Grande, 10-3, to claim the championship of the annual Marcos de Niza-McClintock Invitational at Marcos de Niza High School.
Skyline, featuring a very young lineup and first-year coach, boosted its winning streak to 11 games overall and its seaon mark now stands at 12-2. The Lady Coyotes latest triumph was punctuated by solid defense early, a big third-inning outburst and the steady pitching of one of its two seniors, Shea Wilson.
"This is really awesome for these girls," Skyline coach Annie Lockwood said. "It's great for these girls to have something like this for themselves. It was a one batter at at time mentality. Everyone went up there with the idea of doing something for the team."
Skyline cooled off Vista Grande's bats, which produced in great part 45 runs in its four pool play wins prior to Wednesday. Skyline second baseman Priscilla Figueroa made a diving stop to her left to take away a hit in the first inning. Figueroa then started a 4-6-3 double play in the second inning to snuff out a potential rally by Vista Grande that helped protect a 1-0 lead Skyline nabbed in the bottom of the first.
Skyline opened the scoring in the first on a single by leadoff hitter and senior Bianca Gonzalez and a triple by Maddy Mercer. When Vista Grande answered with a unearned run in the third to tie the game, Skyline bounced back to score six times and break it open. Gonzalez, Natalie Rizen, Lynzee Bollinger and Jaycee Lindley had hits in the inning to go with two errors by Vista Grande. Bunt hits were a key to the inning, not the long ball or extra base hits. In fact, other than Mercer's triple, 10 of Skyline's 11 hits were singles.
The six-run inning served to boost the confidence of Wilson, who scattered seven hits and walked two in hurling a complete-game victory.
"This is amazing," Wilson said. "I was crying tears of joy. Getting those runs made me feel good. I was a little scared at the beginning, but I settled in and tried to push through."
All three of Vista Grande's runs were unearned. Skyline's defense, as well as Marcos de Niza's had a rough time midway through the game and to the end as the teams combined for 10 errors. Wilson pitched around the errors and the seven hits she allowed were all singles.
Gonzalez, Mercer, Rizen and Figueroa had two hits each for Skyline. Rizen drove in a pair of insurance runs in the fifth inning. Vista Grande got two hits from Dani Deatherage.
Lockwood certainly liked the defense early and the overall performance minus a couple errors.
"We will lose two role players after this year," Lockwood said. "But I'm looking forward to the rest of this year and the years to come with the young players we have and others that come from the lower levels."