The Canyon del Oro Dorados varsity softball team made a big statement with its 14-0 win over Flowing Wells when the two teams met on March 29.
This year, the CDO softball program is looking for its fifth state championship in the last six years, and with an overall record of 17-3 thus far, it seems they’re on the right path.
Head Coach Stephanie Nicholson is new to CDO’s softball program, but has a history of coaching and playing softball throughout Tucson, and was a member of a state champion Flowing Wells team in the past.
“I’m no stranger to winning state championships,” she said. “It’s exciting to carry on the CDO tradition and make a difference, sWe have an ultimate goal of reaching the state championship with this year’s team.”
Heading into their game against a Flowing Wells team which has struggled this year, Nicholson said they would approach the game as they would any other by not underestimating their opponent.
“We are going to treat every game like a championship game,” she said. “We don’t want to take anyone lightly. We made that mistake against Horizon recently and they came back and beat us.”
The Dorados were championship material from the get-go, and would pull ahead in the top of the first inning when Kayla Bonstrom scored after a wild ball got loose behind the plate.
Soon after, with bases loaded, Makenzie Sullivan was walked, advancing the runners and sending Briana Dohogne in for the 2-0 lead. Then, a hit by Dominique Gonzalez sent Samantha Noland home for a 3-0 lead with only one out.
Flowing Wells continued to struggle from the pitching mound, walking three of the next four batters, ultimately advancing Sullivan and Samantha Nettling home to give CDO a 5-0 lead in the top of the first.
Flowing Wells failed to recover in the bottom of the first, collecting three quick outs after a double play by CDO tagged out two runners.
The game remained scoreless in the second inning, but the third inning would prove another long one for Flowing Wells, as CDO continued its accurate hitting.
An RBI by Bonstrom sent in Sullivan for the first run of the third inning, bringing the score to 6-0. Next at bat, Dohogne connected with a single to load the bases with no outs. Noland added to the Caballeros’ woes when she connected big, sending the ball to deep center and advancing Monique Castillo, Bonstrom, and Dohogne home to give the Dorados a 9-0 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Caballeros, the Dorados would manage another five runs in the inning to pull off a nine-run inning, closing out the third with a score of 14-0.
Scoring for the Dorados in the top of the third were Noland, Sullivan, Nettling, Heather Knight, and Gonzalez.
“We really got timely hits when we needed them,” said Noland. “We’re trying to keep our bats hot this season.”
A scary moment occurred when Sullivan was hit on the helmet by the softball as she made her run towards home plate. Time was called for the game as the trainer tended to Sullivan, who eventually rose and returned to her dugout amidst applause.
CDO slowed on offense the final two innings, as an improved defense by Flowing Wells allowed fewer scoring opportunities. Still, CDO returned the favor on defense, keeping the Caballeros scoreless for the entirety of the game.
Noland said if the team wants to make a trip to the state championship, patience will be an important factor.
“We just need to take one game at a time,” she said. “We need to take it slow and keep our focus.”