BENSON — Two runs in the bottom half of the first inning was all that Benson would need Friday to beat the Willcox Cowgirls 2-0, clinching the 2A South softball region championship.
The first inning had the Bobcats holding the Cowgirls scoreless while putting two runs on the scoreboard. After a single by sophomore Celina Wilharm and a stolen base, senior Emily Darwin hit the ball over the left field fence for a two-run home run.
Pitching for the Bobcats was senior Emily Darwin, who recorded a four-hit shutout while striking out 10 and not allowing a walk.
Offensively for the Bobcats: Darwin had one run, one home run and two RBIs; sophomore Celina Wilharm had one run and one hit; and senior Brooklynne Pullis, senior Teresa Garza, senior Kayla Sherman, and junior Shaylin Taylor had one hit each.
“This was a good, competitive game to get us ready for the postseason,” Benson coach Brittney Batten said. “Defensively we played a great game with Emily doing good on the mound. Offensively, the Willcox pitcher kept us off balance – we needed to see that.”
Pitching for the Cowgirls was sophomore Jesse Gonzalez, who gave up two runs and six hits, struck out two and walked one.
Offensively for the Cowgirls junior Jazlyn Felix and sophomore Brandi Larson had one hit each and senior Maddy Tunks had two hits.
“I’m extremely proud of how our girls played,” Willcox coach Trevor Ward said. “Jesse pitched a great game and Maddy played great defense at third base. Our girls, as always, stayed in the game mentally and physically and made Willcox proud.”
The Bobcats finished in first place with an 8-0 record in the 2A South; they are 17-0 and in first place in the 2A state rankings. Their final game of the regular season had them traveling to Payson on Saturday to take on the Longhorns.
This was the Cowgirls’ final game of the regular season. They finished with an overall record of 13-3, 5-2 for second place in the 2A South conference and are sixth in the 2A state rankings.
Benson and Willcox will be competing in the postseason state playoffs.