Campo Verde rally denies Higley

April 3, 2023 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Higley's Natalie Ojeda (8) takes a cut against Campo Verde on Monday. Ojeda homered and doubled, but Campo scored three in the sixth for 8-5 win. (Azpreps365 photo)

Campo Verde solidified its #3 ranking in 5A softball on Monday night. The Coyotes answered #13 Higley's tying rally in the top of the sixth with a three-run, game-winning burst in the bottom of the frame for an 8-5 win in a San Tan Region triumph at Campo Verde.

Campo Verde's victory avenged a 2-0 loss to Higley last week. The Coyotes (13-6) secured a second-place tie in the region with Higley (16-6). Both schools are 3-1 in region. Casteel leads the region at 3-0 after its 14-4, run-rule win over Mountain Pointe on Monday.

Monday's rematch appeared headed Campo Verde's way after five innings. The Coyotes enjoyed a 5-1 lead, mostly playing small ball. Higley used a pair of two-run homers to score four times in the top of the sixth, tying the game at 5. Higley's homers in the inning were courtesy of clean-up hitter Tanner Robinson and eight-place hitter Amber Charles.

Campo Verde's winning rally consisted of a four hits - a double and three singles. The 5-5 tie was broken on a fielder's choice by pinch-hitter Kailee Kapuras.

Campo Verde pitcher Addison Gavigan allowed a first-inning, solo homer to Higley's power-hitting catcher Natalie Ojeda. It was Ojeda's 11th homer and 43rd RBI this season. Gavigan followed up with four consecutive scoreless innings while her teammates built the 5-1 advantage.

 Gavigan, who went the distance and finished with 12 strikeouts, seemed buoyed by her teammates rally in the sixth. She responded retiring Higley in order in the seventh. Higley's Kyndal Williams took the loss. She allowed six hits in six innings, but a bevy of errors hampered her effort. Only three of the eight runs allowed were earned runs.

Both schools resume play on Wednesday with non-region games. Campo Verde visits Desert Mountain and Higley travels to Chaparral.