Junior’s pair of 3-run HRs lift GJ past Central
Junior Arrianna Diaz hit a pair of three-run home runs Thursday night, lifting Grand Junction High School’s softball team to its eight straight win, 9-7 over Central at Kronkright Complex.
The Tigers (9-1, 2-0 Southwestern League) trailed 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth when Diaz drove in the winning run with her second home run of the game. The shortstop was 2 for 4 with six RBI.
“We always preach to our girls, you never know when it’s your moment,” said Grand Junction head coach Adam Diaz, who is also Arrianna’s father. “You never know. You have to go out and grab it, and that’s exactly what (Arrianna) did. She kept relaxed, waited for her pitch and then took it.”
Diaz hit her first home run of the game in the bottom of the first with two strikes against her.
“Always throw the records away when it comes to rivalry games,” Adam Diaz said. “We’re both going to play. I don’t care if one team is 0-10 and the other is 10-0, it’s going to be a great game.”
After Brittany Hoppe hit a home run for Central (6-5, 0-2 SWL), the Tigers seemed to take control of the game.
Shafer Rubalcaba drove in Brianna Baldwin to tie it at 1-1 before Diaz hit her first home run for a 4-1 lead.
Tigers’ senior Cierra Cosslett pitched a 1-2-3 top of the second before she and Mikayla Rivera each had an RBI to extend Grand Junction’s lead to 6-1.
Central then swung the momentum in its favor by ending the second inning on a double play at the plate. The Warriors got a three-run home run from Emily Zich to cut the deficit to 6-4 in the top of the third.
After a scoreless fourth, Central logged the next three runs to take a 7-6 lead. McKayla Lange singled to score Hoppe in the top of the fifth, and Hoppe doubled in Bayela Hice in the sixth inning. Hoppe, who went 4 for 4 — including two doubles — scored on Amber Walters’ single for a 7-6 lead.
“We were mentally tougher,” Adam Diaz said of his team’s ability to come back. “We kept our composure. We didn’t let ourselves lose it mentally. They just kept at it and kept at it, and we answered back every time.”
Diaz hit her second three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth and reliever Elisha Jahnke struck out Central’s Kiana Garcia on a 2-2 count to seal the Grand Junction victory.
The Tigers and Warriors are set for a rematch next Thursday.
“They’re a good-hitting team. Like I said, it’s rivalry, so throw the records away,” Diaz said of the quick turnaround between the rivals. “It’s going to be another great game. We’ll come back at them and expect them to come right at us.”
Fruita Monument 21, Montrose 0: Fruita Monument’s softball team scored in bunches in a rout that lasted only three innings.
Mallory Paulson drove in six runs, four on a second-inning grand slam, which was part of the Wildcats’ 11-run inning.
Shanyn Thomas went 2 for 2 with a three-run home run and drove in five runs and Makenzie Decrow hit a three-run home run in the fourth. Fruita led 6-0 after the first inning.
Jennie Sneddon allowed only two hits and had one of Fruita’s three doubles.
Grand Junction continued its Southwestern League dominance, claiming a 6-1 victory over Fruita Monument.
Spencer Weinberg improved to 5-0 in dual meets at No. 1 singles beating Vinny Castellini 6-0, 6-0. Luke Ledebur won his fifth dual match, 6-1, 6-1 over Tanner McKenzie. Matthew Harris of Fruita claimed a 5-7,7-5, 6-2 victory at No. 3 singles over Tate Hegstrom. The Tigers won all four doubles matches in straight sets.
Palisade led 2-0 at halftime but couldn’t hold off Eagle Valley’s second-half surge, losing 7-3.