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COUGARS, PANTHERS WILL FACE OFF FOR ISA SOFTBALL TITLE

Academy set to battle top seed Guam High for queen of the diamond

By Carmen Gogue

The Academy Cougars secured their spot in the ISA Girls Softball Championship defeating the Simon Sanchez Sharks 14-4 in five innings Wednesday afternoon. The Cougars will face off against the top seeded Guam High Panthers on Saturday, March 9 at 1 pm at the Okkodo field.

Sadie Guerrero was a force to be reckoned with on the mound, pitching all five innings with eight instrumental strikeouts to hold off the Sharks. Ahead 5-4 with just one run in the third inning, Mylie Butters stepped up ripping a shot to centerfield for a triple with 2 RBIs to jumpstart the growing lead for the Cougars.

The Cougars have a well-rounded squad featuring powerful sluggers that’ll make the championship match one to witness.

The Sharks scored their first run but their momentum was quickly shut down by an illegal bat ruling for one of the batters. Now on offense, Academy showcased great batting and base running to score three runs leading 3-1 in the first inning.

Sanchez overcame the disheartening illegal bat call in the second inning as they loaded the bases. Guerrero got her first strikeout of the game against Sharks pitcher Gabby Lujan but the bases were still full. Phaedra Taijeron stepped up to the plate and immediately slugged a line drive to center field for a triple clearing the bases and snatching the lead back for the Sharks at 4-3.

The Sharks defense managed to defend their lead not letting any Cougar runs to end the second inning.

Academy’s infield defense returned the favor in the top of the third with Guerrero getting her second strikeout despite Sanchez loading the bases again.

A triple from Cougar Tera Mann that brought home Aniyah Benavente tied the game 4-4. Mann was able to score a run grabbing a one run lead. The Cougars were able to get two more runners on base and with Butters up to bat, she smashed one out to center field for a triple bringing her two Cougars home to fire up the offense and kickstart the expanding lead.

“First I’d like to thank Sanchez for putting up a good competition for us. You know my team we fought through the adversity and were able to pull through. Our coaches really believe in us and it felt really good being able to hit that triple, I knew I had my teams back,” said Butters.

In the top of the fourth, Guerrero brought all the heat as the Sharks loaded the bases for the third time with no outs getting three consecutive strikeouts to give the Cougars more scoring opportunities.

“We really felt the pressure today. Our softball program is based on one quote..’pressure is a privilege’ and I felt the pressure which pushed me to get those strike outs for us and leave it all out on the field,” said Guerrero.

Although the Cougars only scored one run in the bottom of the fourth to stay ahead 9-4, Guerrero went on to have two more big strikeouts in the fifth with shortstop Giniah Sarmiento catching a Sharks line drive to get the last out.

From there, the Cougars went on a scoring spree loading the bases three times. A result of excellent base running and strong batters like Sarmiento and Olivia Camacho sealed the win for a 10-run ruling to knock out the Sharks for a spot in the title game.

Other Game

The Guam High Panthers defeated the George Washington Geckos 12-1. Brinnlyn Hardt led the Panthers with 10 strikeouts in delivering a two-hitter.

The Panthers held a slim 2-1 lead after three innings before scoring 10 runs in the final two innings.

Brianni Soto went 4-for-4 for Guam High, leading the 12-hit attack for the top-ranked Panthers.

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