The Tucson area features some of the best prep softball teams in the state, and the 2014 finalists in Division II are prime examples of that.
Canyon del Oro and Ironwood Ridge, both from the community of Oro Valley in the northwest section of Tucson, will meet on Monday (May 19) at 5:30 p.m. at Arizona State’s Farrington Stadium in Tempe.
Fourth-seeded CDO was the final piece of the puzzle, rolling to a 9-0 victory over No. 7 Glendale Cactus in an elimination game on Friday (May 16) at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. No. 5 Ironwood Ridge was the team that put CDO in the elimination bracket with a stunning 17-0 victory on May 8.
CDO coach Stephanie Nicholson certainly is not lacking in confidence, nor are her players. They know a lot of players for Ironwood Ridge and are looking forward to the rematch.
“This game means a lot because we are in the same district (Amphitheater). If we stay level-headed, we have a chance to play well,’’ Nicholson said.
Asked if she would have liked to have saved some of Friday’s runs for Ironwood Ridge, Nicholson calmly said, “We plan on hitting the same amount and bringing in the same amount (of runs).’’
The score against Cactus was not that one-sided until the bottom of the sixth, when the Dorados scored seven runs, including a grand slam by Rebecca Ziegler. Cactus’ Morgan Renyer had pitched a solid game until the roof caved in.
CDO scored its first two runs of the game in the fourth inning to break a scoreless deadlock. The Dorados got help from a pair of Cactus errors.
Sophomore Gabby Blevins pitched the first six innings, giving up five hits, and sophomore Randi Longville pitched the seventh, retiring the side in order.
“Gabby kept the ball low, got a lot of ground balls and we played good defense behind her,’’ Nicholson said. “We work on defense constantly.’’
Canyon del Oro will be seeking its eighth title on Monday. Ironwood Ridge has not won a title, but has been to the final three times, most recently a year ago against Peoria Sunrise Mountain. CDO defeated Ironwood Ridge during the regular season 6-4 on April 15.