Arcadia softball advances after first round rout of Liberty

Arcadia pitcher Ellie Richardson winds up for a pitch during the Titans’ 12-1 win over Liberty in the first round of the 5A state playoffs. (Photo Courtesy of Margaret Naczek)

The No. 1 Arcadia High School softball team dominated Saturday, April 28, defeating the No. 16 Liberty 12-1 in five innings in the first round of the 5A state playoffs at Arcadia High School, 4703 E. Indian School Road in Phoenix.

The win advanced the Arcadia Titans (28-3) to the second round, sending the Liberty Lions (11-14) home for the season.

Although the opening three batters for Liberty connected with the ball, the Lions were greeted with tough defense from Arcadia to force three outs early in the top of the first inning.

The Titans then fired off with three runs in the bottom of the first, including two stolen bases by senior Haley Denning, to set the tone for the remainder of the game.

“We came out with our bats hot and they just made really good plays on us I mean that was really the difference,” Liberty Head Coach Kara Holtorf said after the game. “We knew we were the underdog in the situation, but they didn’t care, they came out swinging and did the best they could.”

Arcadia had 22 hits in the game and had eight different players score runs. Seniors Denning, Kelly Flynn and Mae Forshey each scored two runs, along with junior Jade Ng.

“Scoring three runs in the first inning was huge, it’s what we’ve done all year long, we jump at teams early,” Arcadia Head Coach Jason Foster said after the game.

Liberty made adjustments to try and break Arcadia’s momentum. Senior pitcher Mia Leal kept the ball down and tallied two strikeouts on Arcadia’s senior first baseman Morgan Ash in the bottom of the second and fourth innings.

The Lions scored their sole run in the top of the third when senior Rebecca Woolf hit a double to left field, allowing sophomore Logan Beesly to score from second base.

Following that run, the Titans had a meeting at the mound.

“My catcher came up to me and had a little pep talk, it was a rough patch in the inning and I think that really helped me through the inning where I was struggling a little bit,” Arcadia pitcher Ellie Richardson said after the game.

The junior pitched a complete game, allowing only the one run.

After an out in the first inning, the ball tipped off a player’s glove and struck Arcadia first baseman Jordyn Pender in the mouth, forcing her to sit out.

Following the injury, the junior returned to the game to hit, but was not allowed in the field and replaced by designated player freshman Tollen Lockett.

Foster expects Pender to receive stitches following Saturday’s game, but isn’t worried about her ability to play in the remainder of the playoffs.

“She’s a tough kid so I don’t think it’s going to affect much, she’ll come out and play so it shouldn’t slow us down,” Coach Foster said.

The Titans continue to the second round of the playoffs where they will host No. 8 Ironwood Ridge Tuesday, May 1.

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