Saguaro got its biggest win of the season at home over softball powerhouse Poston Butte by a 5-2 score Thursday.
It was Poston Butte’s final regular season 4A Desert Sky regional game.
After going on a 22-game win streak, this was the second loss of the season for Poston Butte, who fell to undefeated Cactus on Monday.
In two out the last three matchups between Saguaro and Poston Butte this season, senior Lindsey Lopez was dominant factor for the Broncos offense and defense.
She pitched a complete game with 10 strikeouts, gave up just two hits. Lopez also had one home run off junior pitcher Caelan Koch, one of Saguaro’s best players, in the 8-0 shutout against the Sabercats on Tuesday at Poston Butte.
Senior Aliyah Santiago started in the circle Thursday for the second game in two days against the Broncos. It was also one day after Santiago signed to play college softball at William Jewell College.
Saguaro’s game plan for Thursday’s game was largely based around the Arizona State commit Lopez. In the first inning of Thursday’s game at Saguaro, Lopez hit a two-run home run off Santiago on a 1-1 count to take the early lead.
It seemed to be a repeat of Lopez setting the tone for Poston Butte (23-2) to beat Saguaro (17-8) for the second time in a week.
“In the first inning, she gets up, there’s one on (base) and she sends a bomb to centerfield,” Saguaro Todd Sweeda said. “We got out of the inning and Aliyah comes in and goes, ‘Coach, can we walk her after this?’ I said, ‘Absolutely,” because she I think she hit two (home runs) off of Caelan (Koch) two days earlier.
Santiago pitched five strikeouts, allowed four hits and just two runs in the Sabercats’ victory. She was also 2-for-3 at the plate and had a run for Saguaro.
“I knew this was going to be a competitive game and I had to hit all my spots and move the ball around the plate going against a power-hitting team like Poston Butte,” Santiago said. “But I had the full support of Brooke (Piazza) behind the plate calling a perfect game and the team behind me making all the plays.”
Other key Saguaro players were freshman first baseman Berkley Dobson, sophomore left fielder Taylor Holliday and senior Amariah Stewart to give Santiago run support.
Sweeda cites Stewart’s bunt in the second inning to load the bases with two runners on as the turning point for Saguaro.
“My little centerfielder Amariah Stewart who just started playing softball last year was on our JV team, and towards the end of that year we put her in to play in state,” Sweeda said. “She’s a right-handed hitter and I flipped her slap-bunt lefty, and she put down this perfect bunt to load the bases up and that’s when Taylor came up next to hit the three runs in with the double.”
Holiday went 2-for-3 at the plate, including a double with bases loaded to create a one-run lead in the second inning.
“I was super relaxed and built myself up by just telling myself I could do it,” Holliday said.
In the fourth inning, Berkley hit a two-run homer to extend the lead 5-2.
In her second start of the week, Lopez threw 10 strikeouts. However, she allowed seven hits and five runs through six innings pitched and Poston Butte had four errors.
Saguaro holds its Senior Night game against San Tan Valley Combs (3-16-1) on Monday.
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