The Marana Tigers softball team came home flying high, 18-3 overall, on a 13-game winning streak and undefeated in a month.
The defending state champion Cañada Del Oro Dorados haven't exactly been thriving, but they still had one weapon at their disposal last Tuesday, and they rode it to an 8-4 win over Marana.
While the Tigers came in with a superior record, it was the Dorados who showed the bigger the game, the better the champions play.
"The state championship helps us," said winning pitcher Kayla Bonstrom. "We expected to win this game. We're good under pressure."
The game-winning hit came in the fifth. With the score tied at 4-4, Kayla Henry and Bonstrom each reached base. After CDO completed a double steal, Val Mendoza belted a three-run homer over the left-field fence, and the Dorados had a 7-4 lead.
"I was feeling good," Mendoza said. "Marana's one of the tougher teams we've played."
From the outset, the game seemed like it would live up to the billing, as the Dorados opened up with two runs on one hit before the Tigers battled back with three runs in their half.
Henry singled, and Bonstrom was hit by a pitch. Then the Dorados went to small ball.
Two bunts in a row, the second a squeeze, brought in Henry, before Sammi Noland hit a sacrifice fly.
"They executed," said Marana coach George Corona. "They traditionally bunt with their speed. Henry and Bonstrom run really well."
The Tigers loaded the bases, before senior Jessie Wengert tripled into right-field to clear the bases for a 3-2 Marana lead.
The Dorados scored two in the third on another single by Henry and a two-run homer by Mattie Fowler.
CDO's only error of the game led to the Tigers scoring the tying run in the fourth inning. CDO was unable to mount much offense, mustering two hits after the second inning.