May 17, 2006 - One run. That's all that stood between the highs of being crowned a state champ and the pangs of defeat for the Canyon Del Oro High School softball team.
Unfortunately for the Dorados, the latter rang true for them in the Class 4A state title game May 12 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix as Glendale Cactus High School knocked off CDO, 1-0, in thrilling fashion.
Cactus managed just four hits but they came in a timely fashion. The Cobras strung together a single and an RBI double off of CDO ace Kenzie Fowler (28-4) to take a one-run lead in the top of the seventh.
Patricia Memale reached base with CDO's third hit of the game in the Dorados' half of the seventh inning and promptly got herself into scoring position by swiping second base.
Cactus pitcher Katie Holverson would not allow Memale any further, fanning Katie Asher to end the rally.
"They left it all out on the field," said head coach Amy Swiderski of her young but savvy Dorado squad.
The Dorados finish their first season in the Class 4A as state runner-ups with a 30-5 record.
Holverson and CDO ace Kenzie Fowler were the story of the evening pitching nearly six flawless innings while combining for 22 strikeouts.
Swiderski is in her first year as head coach of the Dorados, taking over for Kelly Fowler who coached the team last season to a state title in the school's final year in the 5A.
The No. 1 seeded Dorados cruised through its bracket with relative ease before reaching Cactus - which won its third Class 4A state title in the last four years.
The Dorados knocked off Lake Havasu (6-2), Sahuaro (10-0) and Greenway (3-0) high schools to get to the championship tilt.
After mercy-ruling Sahuaro, CDO believed its bats had officially awakened. The Dorados mustered only three runs in the next two games, however, all coming against Phoenix Greenway High School in the semifinals.
CDO relied on its strong defense and lights outs pitching all season. Although they only lost five games on the year, cold bats often proved to be their downfall in those losses, said catcher Brittany Tucker.
More often than not, however, the bats were hot for the Dorados. This year's team hit the more homeruns than any other Dorado squad. Shortstop Trannette Brunson's lofty homer in the quarterfinals against Sahuaro gave CDO 30 dingers on the year. As far as keeping the ball in the park, junior Kate Wilczynski led the team in average, hitting at a .456 clip.
A championship for CDO would have been the program's fourth overall, second in a row and first in the Class 4A.
The bid for number four will come next year when Swiderski's returns all but three seniors - outfielder Mikaela Privitera, Brunson and Memale.
Next year, CDO will benefit from with an experienced group of leaders with the mindset and know how to win important games, said Swiderski.
An all Oro Valley championship game fell short in the semifinals when eventual champs Cactus stopped Ironwood Ridge High School, 5-3. The No. 3 seeded Nighthawks run to the final four included wins over Agua Fria and Catalina Foothills high schools by a combined score of 17-1.