In the first matchup between the two teams that played for last year’s 1A State Championship, No. 1-ranked Ray defeated No. 2 Superior last Tuesday, 12 – 3.
The most recent result was nearly as close as the narrow 1 – 0 Lady Cats’ victory in last year’s title game, in which both teams entered with the same spot in the rankings as last week’s contest.
The Lady Cats’ offense pounded out eight extra-base hits, including six doubles and a pair of home runs, against the Lady Panthers, who did not throw their ace, Kiki Arriola, in the game.
The defending champions started fast and finished strong, scoring four runs in the first and eight more in the final three innings, including a five-run seventh inning.
Senior Ema Alverado and Julie Meza, a junior, each homered for Ray and combined for three RBI. Leadoff hitter Janae Ruiz, who went 4-for-4, hit one of the six doubles. Danni Montano, Tara Lorona and Chelsea Boyd-Flores accounted for three more. Lorona and Boyd-Flores each drove in a game-high three runs. Senior Daniella Hinojos went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
Hinojos, who has allowed only five runs – three earned – in her last eight starts, was not as sharp as she has been, as evidenced by the seven walks allowed and two earned runs. Still, she was impressive, slowing down Superior’s high-octane offense that entered the game having scored 11 runs or more in its last six victories, including a 25-run outburst versus San Carlos Mar. 12.
Superior was held to six hits, all singles. Tori Juarez went 2-for-2 with two hits and a pair of walks. Korrina Romero, Yuvithzia Romer and Arriola each had an RBI in the loss.
The teams will meet again in Kearny on Apr. 20 before another likely matchup in the state playoffs in May.
Ray up next: Apr. 12 at Hayden and Apr. 13 at San Manuel. Both games are scheduled for 4 p.m.
Superior up next: Apr. 12 at Ft. Thomas, Apr. 13 vs. San Tan Foothills, and Apr. 17 vs. Hayden. All games are scheduled for 4 p.m.