Pitcher’s grand slams power Willow Canyon past Ironwood

George Witkowski
For West Valley Preps

It is a rare thing for most athletes to hit a home run with the bases loaded, but having back-to-back opportunities, and connecting for home runs both times is something special.

After a pair of scoreless innings, the Ironwood Eagles saw Willow Canyon Wildcats put up eight runs in the third, which included a grand slam by sophomore pitcher Carrigan Foster en route to a 14-1 win in five innings.

Ironwood’s Amanda Harris (#10) attempts to catch a line drive against Willow Canyon Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Ironwood High School in Glendale. (Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia)

Willow Canyon is 6-0 in regular season games with three tournament losses, while Ironwood slips to 8-4-1 overall through Apollo High School’s Cool Nites Tournament and 2-2 in regular season games.

Foster completed a six-run fourth inning with her second grand slam of the game. Both home runs marked her first home runs of the year.

Foster had a feeling it might happen, but hitting another home run was the last thing on her mind.

“After the first one and I felt the sweetness of it,” Foster said. “The second at-bat I saw my pitch, and I was trying to make hard contact, and I took it for a ride.”

Willow Canyon also got an RBI single from junior second baseman Emily Cowan, a sacrifice fly from senior Mackenzie Federico, an error and RBI single from freshman Marley Foster in the third.

In the six-run fourth, the Wildcats added runs from senior Kayleigh Holland and a walk.

Willow Canyon coach Janelle Pritts was pleased that Foster was just as steady as ever.

“She’s been playing her whole life,” Coach Pritts said. “We try to make sure we get as many runs in the early innings.”

The Willow Canyon softball team meets Carrigan Foster (#10) at home plate after a grand slam by Foster against Ironwood Thursday, March 16, 2017 at Ironwood High School in Glendale. (Jacob Stanek/Independent Newsmedia)

Ironwood had its chances when they stranded two in the first three innings, and finally brough home a run in the fifth when junior Maia Sharkey walked and took second on a passed ball. She would score on a run-scoring double from senior Macie Timmons.

Despite the loss, Ironwood coach Jami Beebe said four of the eight runs in the third inning could have been prevented.

“It was the small things (errors) that killed us and we had kids out of position,” Coach Beebe said. “The pitcher, it was her first time pitching since eighth grade.

“We hit the ball, but it went to them and it just didn’t go our way.”

 

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