When Perry designated player Sydnee Smith ripped a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday it appeared to be icing on the cake to a 6-0 win over Red Mountain.
As it turned out the fifth-seeded Pumas might not have advanced to the next round without it.
No. 12 Red Mountain rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate before falling, 6-4, in the first round of the 6A state softball tournament at Perry High.
Smith’s clout over the centerfield fence gave pitcher Saige Stutz a huge cushion going to the final inning. With good defense behind her, she was working on a three-hit shutout.
But Red Mountain (20-13) pecked away with four hits in its final at bat – the key hit a two-run single by Alyssa Honeywell. Honeywell was at third with two out and power-hitting Matisen Onofrei at the plate. Stutz got Onofrei out for the fourth time with a fly out to right just shy of the warning track.
Perry (23-8) moves on to the elite eight on Tuesday to face No. 4 Cibola, a 6-2 winner over Rincon/University. Perry will look to avenge a 4-1 loss to Cibola suffered just 10 days ago.
HORIZON 8, SANDRA DAY O’CONNOR 0: The 15th-seeded Huskies surprised behind the three-hit pitching of Morgan Leinstock to knock out the second-seeded Eagles at SDO. Leinstock fanned seven and walked one. SDO had beaten Horizon twice earlier this month. Horizon next faces No. 7 and defending state champion Hamilton in the elite eight.
PINNACLE 3, WESTWOOD 0: The top-seeded Pioneers got combined three-hit pitching from CC Cook and Marissa Schuld in blanking the No. 16 Warriors at Pinnacle. Jessica Mabrey drove in two runs with a pair of hits for Pinnacle, who next faces No. 8 Desert Vista.
DESERT VISTA 9, CORONA DEL SOL 3: The Thunder built a 5-0 lead after four innings and cruised to victory over the ninth-seeded Aztecs at Desert Vista. Kaylee Dietrich had two hits, including a home run and drove in three runs for the Thundler. Teammate Tyra Craig added two RBI.
CIBOLA 6, RINCON/UNVIERSITY 2: Jannay Jones allowed just two hits and struck out eight as the fourth-seeded Raiders eliminated the No. 13 Rangers at Cibola.
Cibola collected four singles and capitalized on Rincons’ only error in scoring four times in the fifth to break open a 2-1 game.
TUCSON 10, DESERT MOUNTAIN 7: Alyssa Carpio blasted a grand slam with no outs in the bottom of the seventh to give the third-seeded Badgers a win over the No. 14 Wolves at Tucson High. TThe homer helped Tucson overcome an early 5-1 deficit. Tucson moves on to face Desert Ridge in the second round at Tucson High.
DESERT RIDGE 7, WESTVIEW 1: The No. 6 Jaguars scored six times in the sixth inning to break a tie and eliminate the No. 11 Knights at Desert Ridge.
Hannah Pier and Shaylee Ackerman homered in the sixth inning for Desert Ridge and Alyssa Lyon added a three-RBI double in the frame. Lyon had three hits and four RBI.
HAMILTON 12, SUNNYSIDE 2: The seventh-seeded Huskies won their eighth game in a row — all by run rule and seven by shutout – in knocking off the Blue Devils at Hamilton.
Talylor Gindlesperger and Macy Simmons homered for Hamilton with Gindlesperger collecting three hits and four RBI for the day.