Softball: Mountain View Marana over Sahuaro 11-4
April 1, 2019 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365
Marana Mountain View and Sahuaro run-ruled their respective opponents in the 5A Play-In Tournament last year, only to have both come up one run short in the opening round of the state tournament three days later. Mountain View lost to Centennial 1-0 in 11 innings and Sahuaro lost to Cienega 5-4 in eight innings. What might have been?
Cienega went on to beat Centennial 2-1 in an epic 12-inning semifinal game before taking out Ironwood Ridge 8-2 in the state final. It’s easy to imagine how history might have been written had those elimination games gone the other way, but that’s all in the past. The two teams aren’t even competing in the same conference anymore.
Ranked No. 8 in the 5A Conference Monday morning, the Mountain Lions beat Sahuaro 11-4 Monday to improve to 8-3 in power-ranking games but the Cougars were reconfigured to the 4A Conference in the offseason. Still, ranking is the name of the game this year so the win was an important one for the Mountain Lions and the loss is an added burden for Cougars.
Sahuaro is now 2-8 in power-ranking games, the fourth such loss in a row.
“This is definitely a growth year for us,” said sophomore standout Cassidy Morrow. “We have a lot of new faces on our team with players from our JV team and freshman playing this year. We are still trying to figure out our chemistry. We are working on playing with each other rather than for ourselves.”
The Cougars lost eight players to graduation and there are only two seniors on the team this year. In all, six players return and only three of those had starting positions. That’s the definition of a rebuild but the Cougars battled early and took a 2-0 lead over Sahuaro in the first inning thanks to a 2-run shot from Morrow.
That lead didn’t hold up long and Mountain View plated five runs in the second, with back-to-back triples from Chloe Cordova and Marisella Sandoval pacing the team. Morrow hit another 2-run shot in the top of the third to cut the lead down to 5-4 but the Mountain Lions got those two runs back in the bottom half of the inning, three more in the fourth and another in the sixth for the 11-4 victory.
Sophomore standout Hailie Mann got the start for Mountain View and she gave way to Jessica Niegocki in the fourth inning. The junior picked up eight strikeouts the rest of the way.
“I think we are strong all the way around and we have a strong pitching staff,” Niegocki said. “I really wanted to play against Sahuaro and I was excited I got the chance.”
Morrow and Kaylee Johnson took the circle for Sahuaro but it was Morrow’s bat that kept the Cougars in the game early.
“I try to stay relaxed and do what comes naturally,” Morrow added. “Just drive the ball and my pitching is getting better each game and I’m learning how to fix my mistakes.”
Cordova finished 3-for-4 and the senior just missed hitting for the cycle with a double, triple and home run. Jordy Van der Werf went 2-4 with a double and two RBI.
Sahuaro travels to Casa Grande (9-2) on Tuesday and Mountain View hosts Cholla (3-6).