Nogales softball falls in final inning

Nogales softball falls in final inning, 13-12
Posted on 04/19/2022
Nogales softball falls in final inning, 13-12
Via Nogales International

Leading the Casa Grande Cougars 11-10 with two down in the top of the seventh inning of Friday’s softball game, the Nogales Apaches were one out away from victory.

But the Cougars’ Demi Choate clubbed a three-run homer over the center field wall to put the visitors up 13-11.

Nogales got out of the inning without any further damage, thanks to a running catch by Michelle Robles deep in left field. Then they mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh.

Erika Ainza doubled with one out, and Ayleen Lira followed with another double to drive home Ainza and make it 13-12. Lira then tagged up and went to third on a fly ball to center, putting the tying run on third with two out. But the Casa Grande shortstop snared a soft liner up the middle by Rocio Navarro to end the game.

The loss left the Apaches still searching for their first win of the season, with three games left on the schedule. Casa Grande improved to 4-11.

The Cougars took a 5-0 lead in Friday’s game after Ashlyn Gutierrez belted a two-out, three-run home run in the top of the third inning. But NHS got one run back in the bottom of the inning and three more in the fourth.

Then, after Casa Grande plated three runs in the top of the fifth to go up 8-4, Nogales scored seven times in the bottom of the frame to take an 11-8 lead.

The fifth-inning outburst started after the Apaches loaded the bases with one out and Yesenia Ahumada followed with a three-run double. The next batter was Robles, and she hit another double to score Ahumada and tie the score.

Then, after a groundout, Stacy Zuniga singled home Robles. Brianna Romo drew a walk to keep the inning alive, and Ainza followed with another RBI single. That brought up Lira, who drove in yet another run with a hit.

After Casa Grande scored once in the top of the sixth to make it 11-9, Nogales had a chance to tack on more runs in the bottom of the inning after singles by Ahumada, Robles and Alejandra Contreras loaded the bases with one out. But the Cougars turned a double play to get out of the jam.

Casa Grande then used two singles and a sacrifice bunt leading off the seventh to cut the lead to 11-10. Another single with two outs put runners on first and third, setting the stage for Choate’s game-deciding home run.

The Apaches had 18 hits in the game, led by Lira, who went 4-for-5 with two RBIs. Ahumada was 3-for-4 with three RBIs, and Denise Lopez, Ainza, Robles, Contreras and Zuniga all had two hit apiece.

Nogales returns to action on Tuesday at Buena High School in Sierra Vista. Their final home game is on Wednesday against Sunnyside, starting at 4 p.m., and they wrap up their season at Salpointe on Thursday.
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