By Sam Conner
The Estrella Foothills Lady Wolves of Goodyear defeated the Winslow Lady Bulldogs 12-4 in the Arizona State Division III Softball Championship Game last Saturday night in Phoenix. The Wolves posted a 32-2 record on their way to the title.
The Bulldogs earned their berth in the title game with a 14-4 win over Payson on Friday, while the Wolves edged Empire 2-1 in the other semifinal game.
Estrella Foothills scored three times in the top of the first inning to put the Lady Bulldogs in a quick hole. Alex Fedo and Ashley Godfrey walked, Dustie Durham singled and all three scored on a triple by Allison Montano to give the Wolves a 3-0 lead.
The Wolves increased their lead to a commanding 10-0 in the fourth and put the Bulldogs in danger of losing the game at the end of the inning due to the 10-run mercy rule. Montano led off the inning with a double, Devynn Osmanski singled her home and Sarah Trammell walked. Winslow changed pitchers as Richelyn Villanueva replaced Halle Hayes. Taylor Godfrey, Fedo and Ashley Godfrey singled, SaVannah Osmanski doubled, Durham, Montano and Carley Parfitt singled, plating seven runs on nine hits as 12 Wolves batted in the inning.
The Bulldogs finally got on the scoreboard and kept the game going in the bottom of the fifth inning. Haley Hayes, Jaleisa Hayes and Taylor Baca singled, cutting the lead to 10-1. They cut further into the Estrella Foothills lead in the bottom of the sixth. Megan Lymer, Villanueva and Halle Hayes singled to cut the lead to 10-2.
Estrella Foothills added two insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning for a commanding 12-2 lead. Trammell, Fedo and Ashley Godfrey singled to plate the runs.
Winslow scored twice in the bottom of the seventh, but it was too little too late. Renee Bollin and Baca singled and scored on a two-out pinch hit single by Jolisa Jones.
The Wolves were led by Montano at the plate with a four for four night, including a double and a triple. Fedo and Trammell were each two for three. Ashley Godfrey and Durham were each two for four. Taylor Godfrey was two for five. Devynn Osmanski and Parfitt were each one for three. SaVannah Osmanski was one for four.
Baca led Winslow at the plate with a four for four night. Jones was one for one. Halle Hayes was three for four. Megan Lymer was two for four. Villanueva was one for three. Jaleisa Hayes, Renee Bollin and Alyssa Smith were each one for four.
Durham worked the full seven innings on the mound for the win, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on 14 hits and no walks while fanning just one. She kept Winslow from getting key hits as the Bulldogs stranded 10 base runners.
Halle Hayes started and took the loss for Winslow. She gave up five runs in 31/3 innings on four hits and four walks. Villanueva worked 32/3 innings and gave up seven runs on 10 hits with no walks and two strikeouts. Most of the damage came when the first seven batters she faced in relief hit safely.
The Bulldogs defeated the Payson Lady Longhorns 14-4 in the semifinals the night before. The win avenged one of the Bulldogs’ three regular season losses, a 4-1 edging by the Longhorns at the Payson Tournament. Payson’s season ended with an excellent 29-5 record.
Winslow took advantage of 12 hits, three Payson errors, five walks and a hit batsman to score 14 runs, nine of them in the last two innings, to earn the win with the game called after five innings under the mercy rule.
Halle Hayes worked the full five innings giving up four runs, two of which were earned on seven hits and four walks while fanning five.
The Lady Bulldogs opened the game with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning on a triple by Halle Hayes and a walk to Jaleisa Hayes. Halle Hayes scored on an errant pickoff attempt and Jaleisa Hayes scored as Renee Bollin, who had been hit by a pitch was thrown out attempting to steal second. Baca and Jaime Bollin singled, but were left on base.
Payson tied the score at 2-2 in the bottom of the first when the third strike hit the ground and a pair of runners scored, with the runner from first going to third. She was erased trying to score on a wild pitch. Arissa Paulson had the only hit in the inning, which also included two walks.
Winslow regained the lead in the top of the second inning on a bases loaded, two-out double by Baca which scored Halle Hayes, who had reached on an error, Jaleisa Hayes, who had singled, and Renee Bollin, who had walked. The scores gave the Bulldogs a 5-2 lead.
Payson cut the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the third when Ari Paulson, Payton Peterson and Cori Barnett singled.
The Bulldogs increased the lead in the top of the fourth when Halle Hayes, Baca, Megan Lymer and Alyssa Smith singled, and Renee Bollin reached on an error as they batted around and scored four runs for a 9-4 lead.
Winslow continued to increase the lead in the top of the fifth, scoring five runs for a 14-4 lead. Villanueva and Halle Hayes singled, Jaleisa Hayes walked and Baca was hit by the pitcher with the bases loaded to bring in the first run. Jaime Bollin walked to bring in another run and change the Payson pitcher. Megan Lymer walked, forcing in another run. Smith singled in two runs. With the 10-run lead, the mercy rule came into effect if the Bulldogs could shut out Payson in the bottom of the fifth. Halle Hayes got the shutout inning and the game ended with Winslow winning 14-4.
Baca led Winslow at the plate with a three for three night including a double. Halle Hayes was three for four with a triple. Renee Bollin was two for three. Smith was two for four. Jaleisa Hayes and Jamie Bollin were each one for two. Megan Lymer was one for three. Villanueva was one for four.
Ari Paulson led Payson with a three for three night including a double. Barnett was two for three. Peterson and Arissa Paulson were each one for three.
The Estrella Foothills Lady Wolves edged Empire Lady Ravens in an earlier game to earn a berth in the state championship game on Saturday. Winslow defeated Estrella Foothills in the tournament last year. The Championship Game was set for 7:45 p.m. at the Rode Mofford Complex. Estrella Foothills will carry a 31-2 record into the Championship Game.
The Bulldogs finished 26-4 under first year Coach Kelly Fifelski and have most of the team returning next year.
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By Sam Conner