Hamilton Huskies bushwhacked on road to softball title game

Red Mountain High School‘s softball team just turned a giant killer into road kill.  And with surprising ease.

Just 18 days ago, Hamilton High School won the 6A Premier Region title by upsetting Xavier Prep, the No. 1 team in the power rakings, in a 13-7 slugfest  That game included seven home runs, four of them by the Huskies.

That was just the Gators’ second loss of the regular season.  Their only other loss also came at the hands of the Huskies, a 6-4 setback in the sixth game on the schedule.

The latest Hamilton win broke  a six-game Gator win streak.  For the Huskies, it marked their eighth win in a row.

It appeared at that time that a state title game match-up between the two teams was a pretty good bet, giving Xavier an opportunity for revenge and providing fans with a display of power at the plate in the biggest game of the year.

But the Huskies (16-6) were blindsided in the state quarterfinals by Red Mountain on their way to the championship game.  The Mesa school had beaten Hamilton back in March, but who could have expected a no-hitter against one of the most potent offenses (42 home runs) in the 6A conference?

That’s what Taylor Trowbridge did to the Huskies, recording 10 strikeouts on the way to her no-hitter.  The junior pitcher had some trouble with control – four walks and three batters put on base via being hit by a pitch – but it didn’t help the Huskies much.  This was the first shutout for Hamilton all season.

However, there was so much more than good pitching that pulled off perhaps the biggest upset of the tourney.  The Mountain Lions collected 14 hits for the game, with each player contributing at least one hit.

Red Mountain (17-5) took control early, jumping out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning and adding three more runs in the third.  A three-run sixth inning iced the win.

The Lions won their opening game, 4-0 against No. 15 Corona del Sol HS, beat No. 2 Hamilton, and now will face No. 11 Shadow Ridge HS in tonight’s semifinal.  Shadow Ridge has been a surprise so far, having upset No. 6 Desert Vista HS and No. 3 Queen Creek HS.

Red Mountain coach Rich Hamilton called the Hamilton upset the “most complete” game his team has played so far this season.

It may take one more of those to reach the title game, where No. 1 seed Xavier will likely be awaiting their arrival.