The Lady Sand Devils took on the number one ranked River Valley Dust Devils this past Saturday in Phoenix during the 3A Conference state playoffs.
The Dust Devils proved a tough opponent but the odds seemed in favor of the Sand Devils who had the drive to bring home a place in the state playoffs. But the Dust Devils hold the number one rank in the league and were not going to let go of their chance to advance.
“They just had patience and basically they never let down. They played to the very end; they had enthusiasm and intensity thought out the entire defense and offense, which I thought was very impressive.” Head Coach Sunni Crank said about their opponent.
The tournament game had all the makings of a great playoff game. The stats, the pitchers, the defense and the batting and win averages, but only one team could advance.
“If we held back the number of walks and those small personal errors [because] they capitalized on it and they did exactly what they needed to do to advance,” said Crank.
Crank noted the pitcher for the Dust Devils had struggled at one point and walked some of the Sand Devils’ batters but soon began to strike them out.
“I believe we were impatient and she had one inning with 14 straight balls. We just got a little too eager.”
Both teams went two innings with no runs on the board. In the third inning the Dust Devils brought in five home runs to take the lead. Crank noted the third inning was where things began to turn for the Sand Devils’ chance to advance.
“We just had one bad inning that we couldn’t recover from. Shelby started the game then Amaya came in and pitched a couple of innings. Shelby came back in at the end of the game. She just couldn’t hit her spots. A lot of expectations are on [the pitcher] and she tried to paddle though it but it just wasn’t happening.”
The Sand Devils were able to hold the Dust Devils at bay until the fifth inning. In the sixth inning the Dust Devils put another five runs on the board to take the win over the Sand Devils with a final score of 10-0 by the ten run rule.
Crank says she will take what she and her team have learned from his game and season into the next season.
“We have five year seniors leaving so the rest will be coming back and it’s a good start to the season next year.”
Crank hopes to return as the coach again next season as well.
“If all goes well with the school I would like to stay with the program.”