Finishing Wednesday's game on Thursday after rains in the Valley put it on hold overnight, the Flagstaff Girls Softball Little League 10- and 11-year-old All-Stars beat Litchfield Park 18-6 to reach the state championship game as the undefeated team.
Having beaten last year's champion Thornydale, last year's runner-up Gilbert and Litchfield, who eliminated it a year ago, Flagstaff will play the first potential championship game Saturday at 5 p.m. in Tucson with a second following at 7:30 p.m. if needed.
Bella Giurlanda helped lead Flagstaff to the finals, driving in five runs. Gianna Baca struck out the side in the third inning as she kept Flagstaff ahead in the circle. Gracie Schmitz took over when the game resumed on Thursday as Flagstaff finished the victory.
Falling to Apache Junction 5-2 on Thursday in Queen Creek, Flagstaff dropped into the loser's bracket a game before the championship round.
Committing four errors defensively, Flagstaff failed to balance out the struggles and left eight runners on base. Natalie Hansen and Nicole Almaraz each finished with 2 for 3 days at the plate, but it wasn't enough to edge Apache Junction.
Flagstaff will now play the winner of Friday's game on Saturday with a win moving it back into the championship round, needing two victories to repeat as state champions.
Three unearned runs coming across in the first inning forced Flagstaff to play from behind against Queen Creek in Thursday's state semifinals in Avondale.
Abby Schmitz hit a two-run double to bring Flagstaff within one run at 6-5 after trailing 6-0, and Flagstaff put the tying run on third base in the sixth before ultimately falling.
Jadyn Josytewa went 3 for 3 and Alyssa Fockler added two hits for Flagstaff, while Hannah Thornsley and Kaitlyn Tso combined for nine strikeouts on the mound.
Flagstaff will now need to win three straight games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday in order to reach Monday's championship series.