PHOENIX — The Willcox Cowgirls, ranked sixth in the 2A state rankings, competed in the first round of the 2A state softball championships last weekend against the 11th ranked Heritage Academy Heroes and came away with a 13-8 win.
With their victory over Heritage Academy, the Cowgirls advanced to the quarterfinals on May 8 against the third-ranked River Valley Dust Devils. Willcox lost 13-1.
Heritage Academy made its mark early, scoring five runs in the top of the first inning with the Cowgirls posting three. Undaunted, the Cowgirls held the Heroes scoreless in the second while adding three runs to take the lead at 6-5. With the Heroes scoring one in the third to tie the game, the Cowgirls fought back with three to regain the lead 9-6.
“Champions find a way to win,” Willcox coach Trevor Ward said.
Pitching for the Cowgirls was sophomore Jesse Gonzalez, who recorded six strikeouts and one walk. Offensively sophomore Braxton Hammons had four runs; senior Maddy Tunks had two runs, one hit and two RBIs; junior Jazlyn Felix had three runs, two hits and one RBI; sophomore Allison Wilson had one run, one hit and one RBI; sophomore Maylee Thompson had two runs and one hit; junior Daleigh Ebert had three hits and three RBIs; and sophomore Brandi Larson had one run and one hit.
“Once we fixed our errors we got back in the game and then we started hitting,” Ebert said.
The Dust Devils scored one in the bottom of the first to take the early lead. Holding the Cowgirls scoreless in the fifth, the Dust Devils would come back in the bottom of the inning to score eleven runs to end the game by the 10-run rule, 13-1.
“River Valley had a good, well-coached team,” Ward said. “Brandi Larson broke up the no-hitter in the third inning with a double. We had our chances but we just couldn’t get the key hits.”
The Cowgirls ended their season second in the 2A South with a 6-2 record, 15-5 overall.