Gilbert edges Corona 6-5 with late rallies
April 6, 2023 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
#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.