The course of Thursday’s softball clash between Canyon del Oro and visiting Casa Grande swung on a bloop single to right field.
The hit, which came off the bat of junior pitcher Amya Legarra, died just past the outstretched arms of a Casa Grande infielder, bringing home the game-winning run from third.
Legarra, who struck out 14 Cougars in seven innings of work in the pitcher’s circle in the Dorados’ 3-2 victory, was able to put a fitting conclusion on a game she dominated.
Her game-winning, walk-off single gave the home side a one-run victory, giving the Dorados (9-4, 5-1) a solid rebound from their one-run loss to Buena in Sierra Vista Wednesday afternoon.
Assistant coach Kevin Glynn commended his players for their fight against a tough Cougars squad.
“We were just telling the girls that they proved that they have fight,” Glynn said. “And we know that, just because we’re losing late in the game, it doesn’t mean anything. So, we know that they’re going to work hard and keep trying.”
Legarra dazzled for much of the day in the circle, allowing two runs in the third inning on a hard-hit single.
The tall junior, who is 5-1 with a 1.11 ERA in the circle this season, said Thursday’s one-run win speaks to the team’s ability to overcome adversity.
“I thought we could have cleaned up our defense a bit better,” Legarra said. “But I thought we had good fight at the end.”
Legarra’s game-winning single in the seventh was made possible by a combination of timely hits and plate discipline, with teammate Halle Morris driving in the tying run on a safety squeeze bunt earlier in the frame.
Glynn said he had no doubt in his mind that Legarra would come through at the plate, continuing her string of clutch performances this season.
“I knew [the hit] was in,” he said. “I didn’t want it to go into extra innings, so it was pretty much expected. We expected a lot from her, and she came through. She’s come through a lot for us this season. She’s a clutch player.”
Glynn commended Legarra and her teammates for their ability to keep a level head, when little was clicking early at the plate. He believes the squad will learn from their close losses, gaining valuable insights for next month’s playoff chase.
Glynn said a key component of this year’s team is the level of camaraderie shared by players, both on the diamond and in the dugout.
“The main thing that’s so special about this team is that, whether they’re playing or not, they’re cheering for the rest of the team,” he said. “And they know, when they’re not playing, that they need to be ready to play, because we have so many kids that are going to get thrown into key situations, so you have better be ready.”
Senior outfielder Hope Banales, who scored one of the team’s three runs Thursday, summed up the bond that this year’s team shares.
For Banales, the key component is their shared desire to live up to the lofty standards associated with the Dorados softball program under Fowler, with nine state titles to their name.
She believes that this year’s team has a chance to pick up where others left off, with the team playing their best softball a month before the start of the playoffs.
“It means a lot, when we wear the jerseys,” Banales said. “I feel like we have a standard to go up to and a lot of the girls before us set that standard for us.”