Chino Valley softball pitcher Keigan Willingham guided the Cougars to a 6-4 upset win over Safford in the first round of the AIA 3A state tournament Saturday afternoon at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix. (Jenda Ballard/Courtesy)
Originally published Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 08:48p.m.
PHOENIX — Chino Valley’s 13th-seeded softball team upset No. 4 Safford, 6-4, in the first round of the AIA 3A State Tournament Saturday afternoon at Rose Mofford Softball Complex to advance to the quarterfinals.
The Cougars, who won their first state tournament game since 2016, will play No. 5 Winslow at 8 p.m. Friday, May 4, also at Rose Mofford in Phoenix. Winslow edged No. 12 Sabino, 3-2, in their first-round clash Saturday.
Chino Valley pitcher Keigan Willingham went the distance for the victory over Safford, allowing one earned run and striking out eight.
At the dish, Willingham sparkled as well, going 2 for 3 with a home run in the seventh inning. She finished with three RBIs, two runs scored and a stolen base. Macau Buchanan (2 for 4, stolen base) and Serena Reed (1 for 2, double, two RBIs) aided in the effort for the Cougars.
Chino Valley coach Matt Dunn said his team’s motto is “Bring it!” and that he’s encouraging his girls to stay confident as the state tournament progresses.
“The girls will keep fighting,” he added.