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Vaqueras edge Phoenix to gain split of doubleheader

Ariday Lopez drops one down in 1st game of Tuesday DH against Poenix College-Photo Oscar Lopez Pinal Central
Ariday Lopez drops one down in 1st game of Tuesday DH against Poenix College-Photo Oscar Lopez Pinal Central

Ed Petruska-Pinal Central

SIGNAL PEAK — The Central Arizona College softball team had a grand total of one run-scoring hit in Tuesday's home doubleheader against Phoenix. It wound up being enormous.

Madison Besaw's RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning sent the Vaqueras to a 4-3 victory in Game 2 after the Bears walloped CAC 10-0 in the five-inning opener.

"That's a perfect example of (a batter) making adjustments," Central coach Shelby Davis said. "Maddie's been popping up the ball a lot lately. But she had two hits in Game 2, both on hard ground balls."

Besaw's shot into the left-field corner came with two outs on a 1-2 pitch from Maddison Wattis and scored Nicol Ley from first base to snap a 3-3 deadlock.

CAC pitcher Baylee Eaton allowed a one-out single in the seventh, then secured the win by getting a force at second and a flyout to right. Following a two-run homer in the fourth that gave Phoenix a 3-2 lead, Eaton retired 10 of the final 14 batters.

"We knew their hitters were going to be aggressive," Davis said. "She did a good job of going after them, working off the plate then working back in."

Eaton allowed two earned runs and eight hits. The left-hander struck out one and walked two.

The split left the Vaqueras with a 15-4 overall record and an 8-2 mark in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference. The Bears, ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA Division II poll, are 12-2 overall and 11-1 in ACCAC play.

Phoenix pitcher Brianna Hardy limited Central to one hit in the opener — a leadoff single in the first by Makiya Thomas. Hardy struck out seven and retired 15 of the last 16 batters, issuing a two-out walk to Sonia Solis in the fourth. She came in with a 1.45 ERA and an ACCAC-best 72 strikeouts.

"Coming back from that devastating Game 1 loss showed we had the fight and drive in us," Davis said. "Whether you're on the giving end or the receiving end (of a run-rule game), the hardest thing to do is be ready to play the next one. So we did a good job."

The Vaqueras took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of Game 2 on a sacrifice fly by Solis. Their next two runs came on Besaw's double-play grounder in the second that made it 2-1 and Ley's RBI groundout in the fourth that produced a 3-3 tie.

Wattis held Central to four hits through the first five innings, one of which was Evelyn Roman's leadoff double in the second.

Jocellyn LaFlesch smacked a two-run homer with two outs in the Phoenix fourth to give the Bears a 3-2 lead. Wattis had a two-out RBI double in the second.

Phoenix pounded out 12 hits in the opener, including back-to-back solo home runs by Kamryn Moctezuma and Hardy in the third inning. Hardy also had a two-run double in the fourth.

Ela Henry had an RBI double in the second, and the Bears got run-scoring doubles from Haley Johnston and Anicela Parra in their four-run fourth.

Central came into the twinbill averaging 9.8 runs and a conference-best .413 team batting average.

NOTE: Central was scheduled to play a doubleheader at Yavapai on Saturday. But due to the snowfall in Prescott, the games will be at CAC. Starting time is noon, weather and field conditions permitting.

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