Cardinal Newman's High School's defense-minded Lady Cardinals made the most of their opportunities to disappoint Casa Grande's Lady Gauchos, 6-1, Thursday afternoon.
The score was definitely misleading. After six innings, Cardinal Newman led just 3-1, and the Lady Gauchos were still hopeful, coming off a promosing, but frustrating, sixth inning.
But in the top of the seventh, Kayla Douglas, the Lady Cardinals' best hitter, bombed a three-run homer over the left-field fence to squash the Casa Grande hopes.
The sad part from the Casa Grande point of view was that Douglas should never have come to bat.
With two outs and a runner on, Sarah Knight kept the inning alive by hitting a blooper that dropped between two Casa Grande defenders and the foul line for a single. That allowed Douglas, who had earlier hit three harmless infield rollers, to take out her frustration on a fast ball thrown by Casa Grande pitcher Courtney Ludlow.
Until that pitch, Ludlow had thrown a good game. Cardinal Newman had five hits until picking up four in the fatal seventh. Ludlow walked only one though those six innings and struck out three.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Newman pitcher Lexie Raash was not overpowering, but had the Lady Gauchos hitting mostly into the ground and mostly to shortstop Douglas, who made eight routine, but crucial, plays.
Casa Grande used sacrifice and guile for its only run in the first inning.
Sara Langdon led off for the Lady Gauchos by slapping a single to left. An out later, Heather Zeeb was safe on an infield error. With runners at first and third, Zeeb deliberately allowed herself to be trapped off first base. While she played pickle, Langdon, one of the fastest of the Lady Gauchos, dived home.
That was it for Casa scoring.