Some might be surprised by Marana’s run in the Division II state softball tournament. After all, the Tigers struggled at the end of the season, losing three of their last five, but they were also a team that won 20 of their first 24 games.
The loss of Sierra Cuestas to a knee injury was a blow, but the team is learning how to play effective offensively without their slugger. At the same time pitcher Casey Cadenhead has gained a lot of confidence in the circle.
Cadenhead tossed her second shutout of the postseason as the Tigers beat Greenway 4-0 to advance to the fourth round of the state playoffs. With the double-elimination format a lot can happen, but essentially the Tigers are three straight wins from a state title, though other scenarios also exist.
Cadenhead kept the Greenway batters off balance all day long, giving up just four hits. Conversely, the Tigers pounded out 10 hits, though ironically they took the lead for good on a bases loaded walk in the fourth. They scored two runs that inning and two more in the top of the seventh. Kilie Lyn walked in the go-ahead run and also had a double on the day.
24 hours earlier the Tigers upset No. 3 Yuma Kofa 14-4. While most of the softball games were played on Tuesday, the Tigers’ second round match-up got pushed back to Wednesday, making for two out of town road trips in as many days.
The Tigers were not as sharp early against Kofa. Down 1-0, the host Kings scored three runs in the bottom of the first. Cadenhead settled down after that and gave up just one more run the rest of the way.
Marana took the lead for good with a four-run third and then scored four in the fifth and five in the sixth. After Kofa failed to score in the bottom of the sixth the game was called due to the 10-run rule.
Cadenhead got the win, allowing just six hits on the day. The Tigers pounded out 14 hits, including a pair of Cadenhead doubles and a Jordan Wengert home run. All told the Tigers had six extra base hits and took advantage of four Kofa errors.
The Tigers next face Cactus High School in the double-elimination tournament’s winners bracket.