No. 4 Queen Creek shuts out No. 5 Highland 7-0

April 16, 2024 by Ben Stapley, AZPreps365

Queen Creek's Kiera Weekly (1) leads off third base while awaiting Highland pitcher Cambria Chacon. (Ben Stapley/azpreps365)

It would be safe to consider Queen Creek a serious 6A softball title contender again.

With the way Jenae Berry is pitching and the way the Bulldogs are hitting, Queen Creek is poised to make another deep postseason run. Tuesday night at Highland, the Bulldogs put on another clinic in a 7-0 victory over the Central Region rival Hawks. 

Berry was masterful in the circle, striking out 14 Highland batters en route to a one-hit, complete game shutout. Emma Reynolds and Teyla Takacs each hit home runs in the decisive fifth inning. Kiera Weekly went 2-4 with a triple and drove in two runs, as the Bulldogs won their seventh consecutive game and fourth straight by shutout.

"I have to say I'm really pleased with the way we played tonight and the way we've been playing," Queen Creek coach Ann Pierson said afterward.

"Highland is a good team and they always play aggressive, so we know we're  paying well when we can beat them two games in a row. We really hit the ball well, we ran the bases well and Jenae (Berry) is really starting to find her spots and pitching so well."

Queen Creek (20-4, 8-1) got steady offense from the outset, and Berry helped herself out in the first inning by driving home Corrie Shull with a base hit double. Weekly followed with another hit to score Berry for the early 2-0 lead.

Freshman Aubrey Chavez made the score 3-0 by driving in Takacs with a base hit in the fourth, but it was the fifth inning when Queen Creek took full control of the game. 

Weekly smashed a triple that nearly cleared the left field wall, which drove in fellow sophomore Arhianna Muniz. That's when freshman Emma Reynolds stepped up and took it deep over center field for the two-run homer and a 6-0 lead. Takacs added a solo home run to make the score 7-0.

In the bottom of the fifth, Highland finally made a legitimate threat. Alena Mascarenas and Rhiannon Lister reached base with no outs, but that's when Berry dug down deep and proceeded to strike out the next three Highland batters. 

"When (Berry) is hitting her spots she's difficult to hit," Pierson added. "She showed a lot of toughness getting out of that jam."

Queen Creek, which lost to state champions Basha in last season's semifinals, currently sits at No. 4 in the power rankings, behind Basha, Red Mountain and Xavier. The Bulldogs will complete the regular season with away games at Yuma Cibola and Gilbert.

Highland (17-6-2, 6-2) finishes with a home and away with Corona del Sol.