Salpointe wins 5th state championship in a row

May 17, 2023 by Andy Morales, AZPreps365

Salpointe. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)

Gianna Mares is headed to BYU and Kaitlyn Terry to UCLA but the seniors had one more high school game to play and the pitchers faced off against each other late Tuesday night to decide the 4A Conference state championship in one of the original meccas for college softball, Rita Hillenbrand Stadium on the University of Arizona campus. Mares improved to 10-0 on the year, and 30-0 overall, in the circle after Salpointe held off Greenway 2-0 to pick up the seventh state championship for the Lancers, including the last five in a row dating back to 2018.

The Demons (29-4) have five state championship trophies, with the last coming in 2008, but this year looked to be the best chance to earn another with Terry commanding the circle. Terry won the 2021 Gatorade Player of the Year award as a sophomore and she is a threat from the circle, with 62 career wins fueled by 1,227 strikeouts, and the box, with a career .626 batting average with 166 RBI and 53 home runs. 68 of those RBI and 23 of those home runs came this year but she has also collected 55 walks including three intentional walks against Salpointe.

Terry earned 10 strikeouts against the vaunted Salpointe (35-1) lineup Tuesday night and she limited the team to three hits with Mares going 2 for 3 and Anyssa Wild picking up the other hit. Terry also ended the game without giving up an earned run but an error on a bunt attempt put Jae Castillo on in the bottom of the second inning and her pinch runner, Carsyn O'Daniels, moved to second base on a passed ball where Krista Martinez sacrificed her over to third. Terry picked up a strikeout but another passed ball brought O’Daniels in for the early 1-0 lead.

Greenway. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)


Salpointe head coach Tricia Sztan stuck to her game plan of putting the ball in play to force the Demons to play defense behind Terry and the strategy worked again in the bottom of the sixth when Mares reached on a leadoff bunt and then scored on a 3-base error on the play to give the Lancers a 2-0 lead with innings running out for the Demons and Mares putting together an equally impressive performance for the Lancers.

Mares had seven strikeouts,and she gave up two doubles on the night, but the Demons where unable to cash in on the two scoring situations. Ariel Chandler picked up a leadoff double in the top of the fifth inning but a ground out and a strikeout made the situation less hopeful, especially with Terry earning her third intentional walk of the night with Chandler standing on third base. The strategy worked and Mares got out of the jam with another strikeout.

Down 2-0, Bella Morris led off the top of the seventh with a double but a ground out and two final strikeouts left Morris at third and the Lancers rushed out of the dugout to celebrate another state championship.

NOTE: Greenway earned the Officials Sportsmanship Award during the contest.

Greenway head coach Janna Frandrup was handed the Sportsmanship Award by area commissioner David Whatton at left and umpire Larry Heath. (Andy Morales/AZPreps365)