The Canyon Del Oro Dorados can finally breathe a sigh of relief. They’re headed to the Division II state softball championship game after defeating the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks 11-6 on Friday night at Cherry Field.

Friday’s game marked the second time the two teams met in the tournament.  In the first go-around, Ironwood edged CDO 9-8 to send the Dorados to the loser’s bracket. Despite the loss, the Dorados avoided double elimination by defeating Gila Ridge and Sabino to set up the rematch with the Nighthawks, who suffered their first loss to Peoria Sunrise Mountain on May 9.

CDO’s Makenzie Sullivan gave the Dorados the lift they needed in the bottom of the fifth inning. Facing a 5-1 deficit, Sullivan hit a three-run homer out of the park to bring the game within one run.

Ironwood’s lead was initiated by Robin Landrith, who has been unstoppable at bat in the tournament. She led the Nighthawks’ early charge with a three-run homer in the top of the third inning.

Still, Sullivan’s fifth inning homer gave the Dorados the needed momentum, and Katelin Vaughn followed it up with a two-run homer to build the Dorados lead to 7-5 leading to the sixth.

The Nighthawks pulled within one after Jordan Rocker smacked one into deep centerfield, allowing Merilee Miller to narrowly beat the throw at home.

With the game too close for comfort, the Dorados answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth, coming from Bonstrom, Briana Dohogne, Samantha Nettling, and Vaughn.

Bonstrom sealed the deal with a game winning strikeout to send the Dorados into celebration and contention for a repeat state championship.

The Dorados advance to play Peoria Sunrise Mountain on Monday Night at Arizona State’s Farrington Stadium at 5:30 p.m. Ironwood Ridge finishes the season with a 31-6 record and will look to rebound with a 2013 state championship run.  

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