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Sunrise Mountain breaks through against Cactus to reach 4A final

Posted 5/5/17

Sunrise Mountain's Hanna Krosky (#8) reacts after striking out the final batter against Cactus in a 4A semifinal game May 4 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley …

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Sunrise Mountain breaks through against Cactus to reach 4A final

Sunrise Mountain's Hanna Krosky (#8) reacts after striking out the final batter against Cactus in a 4A semifinal game May 4 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

Jennifer Jimenez
For West Valley Preps

Cactus and Sunrise Mountain softball know each other very well. They met twice this year and both times the Cobras ended up on top. But playing in a 4A semifinal state playoff match-up always changes the outlook.

Thursday's 4A semifinal game at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix will be there one girls from both teams. The Mustangs jumped out to an early three-run lead before watching the Cobras tie it in the fourth and force extra innings.

Cactus tied it at 4 in the bottom of the eighth, but Sunrise Mountain scored in the tenth and held on for the 5-4 victory. For the first time since 2013, the Mustangs are headed to the state title game.

Sunrise Mountain Coach Jody Pruitt said she believed pitcher Hanna Krosky’s best game in the circle was today. Although she made some mistakes that Cactus was able to capitalize on, she kept her composure and made athletic plays to keep her team alive.

Cactus' Aubrey Chavez (#1) fields a ground ball against Sunrise Mountain during a 4A semifinal game May 4, 2017 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

“I had some jitters before today’s game, but my team picked me up and helped me to stay calm while I was pitching out there,” Krosky said.

Krosky said making it to the championship game is something she has pictured herself winning since she was 9 years old and dreamed of some day playing for coach Pruitt. And now she has the chance as she leads her team to the championship game where the No 3 seeded Mustangs will face No. 1 Canyon Del Oro on at 7:30 May 9 at ASU's Farrington Stadium.

Sunrise Mountain came out swinging in the first inning earning two runs on one hit. Kodi Ramirez walked and after an error by Cactus pitcher Emilie Guerra the Mustangs had runners on first and second with one out. Ramirez scored on a throwing error to third to take the 1-0 lead. Grace Schmidt showed off her talents early cracking a RBI double to left-center for the 2-0 lead.

“The greatest thing about Grace is that she doesn't take her offense to defense or her defense to offense and that is very difficult as a catcher,” Sunrise Mountain head coach Jody Pruitt said. “She’s able to stay focused behind the plate and you see how successful Hanna and our team is because of that.”

Krosky shut down the top of the Cobras order before Sunrise Mountain earned another run in the top of the second inning. Jaymie Moore walked and stole second on a throwing error, then stole thirds and added to the 3-0 lead on a pass ball.

“We started the game off and gave them three runs with mistakes we don't make,” Cactus head coach Bartt Underwood said. “I'm like, 'what are we doing girls?' Right away I was thinking we better hit or this thing is over.”

The bottom of the third inning changed the momentum of the game after Cactus had the bases loaded with Krosky battling Ursula Del Campo at the plate. She battled to a full count and then struck out on an off-speed pitch to get out of the inning..

That set up the Cobras' big inning in the fourth scoring three runs on two hits.  Brynlee Gibbs hit a single that hit off of Krosky’s glove. Alynah Torres battled at the plate before ripping a RBI double and scoring two runs to put the Cobras on the board trailing 3-3.

Guerra shut down the Mustangs in the top of the fifth. And neither team was able to score a run through the next two innings.

The teams headed into extra innings and the Mustangs kept their bats going in the top of the eighth. Schmidt doubled into deep center with one out. Pilar Gutierrez had a RBI single to score Dallis Mitchell who entered the game to run for Schmidt and just like that Sunrise Mountain was back in the lead 4-3.

Sunrise Mountain's Kodi Ramirez (#5) attempts to field a ground ball against Cactus during a 4A semifinal game May 4, 2017 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix. (Jacob Stanek/West Valley Preps)

But Cactus never gave up and when the pressure grew, so did their desire to win. Kaitlyn Levas reached on an error. But she was picked up by her teammates when they got the next out at second.

Guerra singled up the middle for Cactus and now two runners were on base with Jade Osterhoudt at the plate. She earned first on a fielder’s choice to get the runner at second. Now Cactus had runners on first and third and were able to score one run on an infield error by Sunrise Mountain and the game was tied at 4.

Coach Pruitt said the senior leadership really pulled the girls together when the game was tight.

“They knew we had two freshmen out here and they knew we needed to just pull the team together and rally behind Hanna on the mound,” she said.

Cactus could not capitalize on the chance for the win in the bottom of the ninth inning. Nicole Osteen singled to left field, followed by a walk from Torres.

With runners on first and second, Aubrey Chavez hit a pop up behind second base, but Ramirez was able to track the ball for the out. Leyvas was at the plate for the Cobras  and hit a fly out into the outfield for out two, but Sunrise caught the runner at second and forced the third out to end the inning.

Krosky got her team a hit when they needed it the most. She singled to center field in the top of the 10th to get her team going and Schmidt added a single of her own. Krosky's scored after she was looked back to third and the Cobras went for the out at second and failed, scoring Krosky for the 5-4 lead.

Cactus had one final chance at bat and started off with a double to the outfield fence by Del Campo. But her team left her stranded after strikeouts by three consecutive strikeouts. The last one, on an outside pitch, to gave Sunrise Mountain the win and a shot at its state title since 2013.

“I am proud of my girls. Last year we made it to the state finals and this year we weren’t quite there, but I can’t be mad at them,” coach Underwood said.