Ironwood Ridge’s title hopes dashed in rout - The Explorer: Sports

Ironwood Ridge’s title hopes dashed in rout

Frothing Mustangs spell doom for Nighthawks's season

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Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

PHOENIX — On her first pitch, Ironwood Ridge pitcher Kelsey Groff watched her team’s ninth-seeded wave of underdog energy crest and break against the left-field fence for a Sunrise Mountain double.

From there, a flood of runs drowned the Nighthawks’ run toward a first-ever softball title, as the No. 2 Peoria squad grabbed the 5A-II crown with a 10-0 win last Saturday at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.

Though “improbable” to some, coach Randy Anway said the Nighthawks’ “blue-collar” 19-13 season could easily have ended with a banner — had his girls executed at the right times.

“This is the type of team that certainly didn’t have a lot of dominance in any places,” Anway said.

“They just had to roll up their sleeves and work together to get things done and maybe we didn’t do that tonight.”

Sunrise Mountain’s Mustangs (34-2) did all the right things, on both sides of the plate.

During the second inning, 10 batters showered the field, scoring five runs off six hits.

Junior shortstop Brigitte DelPonte, who launched the leadoff double and scored afterward, crossed the plate for a second time in as many innings before she clobbered a left-field homer later in the fourth.

“It’s the championship game. What else do you want to do besides hit a home run?” DelPonte said.

The University of Arizona-bound player’s second-inning diving catch helped preserve Jamie LaBovick’s no-hitter performance, which netted six strikeouts.

Just a sixth-inning error kept the pitcher, who fell ill with a fever on Friday, from a perfect outing.

Having started every game of the season, Groff remained stoic atop the mound until the end — despite a few painful minutes on the ground after a sixth-inning line drive creamed her in the foot.

“It’s pretty bad — it was a line drive … right on the joint. They think it’s broken,” Groff said. “I was not going to get off the field.”

Despite her efforts, the final game of Groff’s high school career lasted only three more batters, as Dani Bonnet’s single drove in the mercy-rule RBI, for a sliding finish in the sixth.

Groff watched for a moment, before heading back to the dugout slowly, while the Mustangs swarmed the plate.

“The balls just didn’t go our way today,” Groff said. “The hits just fell and we got bad breaks on a couple of things. It’s a game of inches and inches just weren’t on our side.”

Sunrise Mountain coach Nick Rizer never expected a lopsided victory, much less a near-perfect game, considering the velocity that the Nighthawks carried into the tournament.

“Coming in, we knew we had our hands full. But it was one of those games where we had the momentum to start with,” Rizer said.

 “I wouldn’t want to play them three times in a row, I’ll tell you that.”

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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