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Cibola grabs 1-5A title

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Cougars beat Hawks for 3rd time this year

With a trophy on the line, the Cibola Cougars knew beating softball rival Volcano Vista for a third time wouldn’t be easy.

It wasn’t, but Cibola ultimately locked up the District 1-5A title with a 5-0 victory on the Hawks’ senior day.

“This has been a fun team, and I’m happy for them,” Cougars coach Gene Victor said as his players celebrated and posed for pictures with their championship trophy after the game. “The best part is, it was a total team effort. Definitely a good day at the ballpark.”

The Cougars (21-3, 6-0) had clobbered Volcano Vista by 12-0 and 17-4 counts in the teams’ first two meetings this season, but the Hawks (17-7, 4-2) put up a stiffer fight Wednesday. The game was scoreless through four innings, and Volcano Vista twice escaped bases-loaded jams without allowing a run.

“Volcano’s our rival,” Cibola third baseman Jaclyn Pino said. “They’re getting better, and we knew they’d give it their all. We had to go all-out.”

The Hawks nearly grabbed a lead in the third when Ryli Johns and Jade Gray singled to put runners on the corners with one out. But the Cougars turned Lauren Wilmert’s grounder into an inning-ending double play.

Cibola broke through in the fifth, loading the bases on two walks and a hit batsman. Nicole Shack followed with a two-run single, and Alyssa Brown later doubled for a 3-0 lead.

Shack picked up another RBI in the sixth when she was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Paige Richardson accounted for her team’s final run with a pinch-hit home run to center field in the seventh.

In addition to driving in three runs, Shack pitched a five-hit shutout with one strikeout and no bases on balls. The Cougars finished with eight hits, three by Pino, and took advantage of eight walks and three hit batters.

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