Nighthawks swinging big as playoffs approach - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks swinging big as playoffs approach

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Posted: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 4:00 am

few weeks ago it was Ironwood Ridge’s Alex Rapp who slugged three homers out of the park. Then, Erin Rocker knocked two out of the park against Pueblo last Monday.

On Tuesday against Mountain View, it was Lexi Adelberg’s turn.

The sophomore slugger hit a grand slam in the bottom of the first inning and a three-run homer in the bottom of the second to lead the Nighthawks to a 15-0 shutout over the visiting Mountain Lions.

Adelberg says her success came simply from relaxing at the plate.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit, so this game I just decided to come out and leave everything on the field – just shake things off and go pitch by pitch,” she said.

Adelberg’s grand slam hoisted the Nighthawks to a 5-0 lead just minutes in, and a single by Reina Bondi sent in Loriann Olson and Casey Fisher to put Ironwood Ridge up 7-0 at the bottom of one. 

The Nighthawks, who had their way with Mountain View at the plate, also stole bases with ease for the duration of the game.

“This is probably the best mix of speed and power we’ve ever had,” said head coach Randy Anway. “To be honest, the thing that gets it done is the speed. It really creates problems for people when they start thinking about that and make mistakes.”

Olson put that speed on display in the top of the second when she single handedly earned a triple play to cut the inning short for the Mountain Lions.

Even as solid as the Ironwood Ridge defense was, it was the team’s continued offense that would prove the dominating factor in the game. In the bottom of the second, Adelberg continued where she left off by slamming a three-run homer out of the park to build a 10-0 lead. 

Mountain View never found its momentum at the plate, mainly because of the consistent pitching of Emily Robinson and quick fielding of the Nighthawks. 

On the opposite spectrum, the Ironwood Ridge offense continued to slug away.

Merille Miller earned a run off a fly ball from Alex Rapp to close out the third, and then Robyn Porter nailed a one-run homer in the bottom of the fourth before Alexis Clinton put the exclamation point on the game with a three-run homer.

In their final inning, Mountain View could only earn a single before collecting three outs to end the game.

“I think we did what we needed to do,” said Anway. “We seem to be playing well right now, so we need to be excited about that. Now we will get a little rest, which is part of the process.”

The game was the last regular season match-up for the Nighthawks, who will now head to the ever-familiar state tournament. Anway, whose team made it to the semifinals last year at state, said the goal now is to keep emotions under control.

“A lot of coaches tell kids to be calm, but the reality is, they’re not going to,” he said. “Great athletes learn to control their emotions, so that’s what we focus on. We own it. We know we are going to be afraid at times, we’re going to be excited, nervous, mad, all of those things, and we will work on being aware and controlling that.”

Adelberg, for one, says she will take the same mentality from Tuesday’s game into the state tournament. 

“Obviously it worked,” she said. “I’m just going to go in and be confident and relaxed.”

The Nighthawks closed out the regular season with a nine-game win streak. Ironwood Ridge enters the state tournament a four seed, with a 15-3 division II record. 

Mountain View will fall short of playoff contention.

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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)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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