After getting run-ruled the night before, the Flagstaff Softball Little League 8- to 10-year-old All-Stars returned the favor Wednesday night.
The host beat Round Valley, 12-2, in five innings, avenging a 10-0 loss from Tuesday to take the District One title and advance to the state tournament.
“Again the girls just kinda had a tough day the other day, everybody has it,” Flagstaff manager Justin Talley said. “We just had a little talk after the game. They stayed up all game. The leaders did their job, Baylee (Barton) did her job. We did what we were supposed to do against a very tough Round Valley team who since Day One you knew was going to be in this game with us.”
Flagstaff and Round Valley met up three times during the course of the district tourney, with the first game coming in the second round and Flagstaff coming out on top in a 9-7 outing. Round Valley took the second game in the first of two title-round contests.
Flagstaff got its payback in the winner-takes-all game.
The victory came off a massive performance at the plate from Baylee Barton, who drove in five runs while going 4 for 4 at the plate. Her first hit was a three-run inside-the-park home run that ignited Flagstaff in the top of the first inning and gave her team a comfortable 3-0 lead.
Jimena Avitia came up big when needed for Flagstaff as well, reaching base three times on an error, a single and a walk. She was driven in by her teammates three of the four times she made it on base.
“(Baylee) and Jimena were just raking that ball,” Talley said. “They are the meat of our order, they’re our experienced girls. We now have three girls that are two-time District One champions in Olivia Zamora, Baylee and Jimena. They were on the team last year, so they had the experience and kept our girls up this year.”
In addition to the strong day at the plate -- as Flagstaff had 10 hits total -- Barton had herself a strong day in the circle. She pitched a complete game, allowing two hits, stranding two runners and striking out 12 batters while walking only two.
Flagstaff scored twice in the second inning and three times in the third before adding four in the top of the fifth to give them enough for the run rule. The winning run came off a two-run hit to center field off the bat of Joy Shafor to give Flagstaff the 12-2 edge.
Barton led the team with her four hits while Avitia added one, Elise Welker had one and Zamora tallied one as the top of the order for Flagstaff all made their marks in the district-winning performance.
Flagstaff takes the District One title for the second straight year and will look to make some noise in the state tourney in Cottonwood starting Friday.
"Not to take anything away from last year’s team, but we only had two games,” Talley said. “All we got to do is try and win one game. Hopefully we come through and all our girls can hit like they are supposed to do.”