Gilbert edges Corona 6-5 with late rallies

April 6, 2023 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365

Corona del Sol's Gina Jackson (12) lines an RBI double in the second inning against Gilbert. Gilbert rallied in the final two innings for a 6-5 victory. (Azpreps365 photo)

#18 Gilbert put the finishing touches on a 3-0 week Thursday afternoon, rallying to sweep a two-game, 6A Central Region softball set with #14 Corona del Sol. The Tigers overcame a 5-1 deficit by scoring three runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh to nip the Aztecs, 6-5, at Gilbert.

Gilbert's Izzy Aguirre's contributed mightily to the come-from-behind victory. Aguirre began the game as the Tigers designated player. She was called on to pitch in relief in the sixth and tossed a scoreless 1 2/3 innings. Aguirre won the game and earned the pitching decision with a walk-off, two-run single with one out in the seventh.

The victory evened Gilbert's record overall at 8-8 and 2-2 in region. Corona del Sol slipped to 9-10, 1-3 in the region. The Aztecs endured a full week playing four games (Monday through Thursday). They were 2-2, but the losses were region defeats relegating them to a three-way tie with Desert Ridge and Desert Vista at the bottom of the region standings.

Corona tallied four times in the top of the fifth to break a 1-1 tie. The Aztecs didn't tear the cover off the ball producing two singles. Add four walks and a hit batter and the rally had teeth. Corona lifted starter Jaclyn Ibarra after four innings and handed the ball to Alyssia Munoz to protect a 5-1 advantage.

Munoz had an easy fifth inning striking out two and allowing one base runner, who reached via a passed ball. Gilbert responded with three hits and two walks in the sixth resulting in three runs slicing the deficit to 5-4.

Munoz fanned the first batter she faced in Gilbert's final at-bat. An infield single by Madison Mendoza initiated the winning rally. Skylar Williams followed with a solid single to right and a pinch runner stole second. Corona opted to issue an intentional walk to Mia Rodriguez to load the bases to set up force plays or perhaps a double play. Aguirre didn't play along, lining the game-winner to right field.

Corona's next game is Monday - home vs. region-leader Queen Creek. Gilbert also resumes play Monday - at home game vs. region foe Desert Vista.