“Third time’s a charm” goes the old saying. But it didn’t hold true for the Pinnacle High School softball team, which failed in its third attempt this season to beat Hamilton High.
This time it cost the Pioneers a state championship.
Hamilton (31-7) scored two runs in the third inning of yesterday’s Division I title game and then added an insurance run in the fourth to hold off Pinnacle and claim the Chandler school’s first-ever state title in softball.
Pinnacle lost just eight games this season, but two of those were to Hamilton – once in the regular season and again earlier in the playoffs.
But the Pioneers (31-8) worked their way up through the losers’ bracket and even overcame a 3-0 deficit to pull off a huge 6-3 upset in extra innings over No. 1-seeded Desert Vista High to get the chance to meet Hamilton one more time in the finals.
Pinnacle’s sophomore pitcher Marissa Schuld held Desert Vista to five hits and struck out 11 batters, and was on the mound for the first four innings of the championship game. This time, however, Hamilton’s hitters tagged her for eight hits and all three runs and had just three strikeouts.
It was another sophomore pitcher, Madison Seigworth, that got the job done for Hamilton using an effective rising pitch that resulted in pop flies and long arching outs. After transferring in from Indiana over the summer, the youngster found herself in the biggest game of her young prep career.
When an injury in March ended the season for the Huskies’ senior ace, Chey Noli, Seigworth carried much of the pitching load forward.
Her six-hit shutout in the championship game capped off an impressive season that finished with a 1.65 ERA over 85 innings, and a 12-3 record.
Seigworth’s teammates supported her mound work with 10 hits, beginning with the third inning when the Huskies took a 3-0 lead, thanks to singles by Leah Stokes, Bella Loomis, and Karlee Arnold. In the fourth, a double from Macy Simmons, who scored on a sacrifice fly, closed out the scoring.
The Huskies spread the scoring around as eight batters collected hits; Loomis was the only player that collected two hits. Karlee Johnson and McKenna Adams let the Pinnacle hitters with two apiece.
In Division II…there were no first-timers. Glendale’s Cactus High School has won six titles over the years and Ironwood Ridge High School drove up from Tucson to pick up its second in the last three years.
The Ridge, the No. 2 seed, used the long ball to break this game open in the sixth and go on to post the 6-2 championship victory.
No. 4 seed Cactus (28-9) had tied the game at 2-2 with a home run from Alynah Torres in the top of the sixth. But the Nighthawks (34-4) came right back in the bottom of the frame with an Annika Baez single, a triple by freshman Jaiden Reid, and a two-run homer from Morgan Haft to take the 6-2 lead that would hold the rest of the way.
Mandy Lorenson, who will be playing next year at South Mountain CC, went the distance on the mound for the Nighthawks, holding a powerful Cactus line-up to just three hits.
She joined with fellow senior Alexis Ranieri in providing the Ridge with a potent 1-2 punch this season. Lorenson finished the season with an 11-2 record and 1.63 ERA, while Ranieri went 13-1 with a 1.72 ERA.
The two combined to lead the Nighthawks to 20 wins in their final 21 games.
But it was the last one that meant the most.