Danielle Block has a hard time balancing the rigors of pitching and hitting.
The Desert Vista senior pitcher likes to pay maximum attention to each aspect, but can’t do so when she’s in the circle and the lineup in the same game.
Judging by Tuesday’s result, her multi-tasking skills are improving.
Block allowed only one earned run in a complete game and went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI at the plate to lead No. 20 Desert Vista to a 7-3 upset victory of No. 4 Gilbert in the second round of the Division I softball tournament at Gilbert.
The Thunder advance to the double-elimination part of the postseason with a matchup against No. 5 Mountain View on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford Sports Complex.
“Usually it’s hard pitching and hitting because you have to be so focused on the mound and so focused at the plate, too,” Block said. “But I felt great today. I was relaxed in both places and it worked out really well.”
Gilbert jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first inning but left the bases loaded.
Desert Vista chipped away with a run in the second inning and another in the third, and then broke through with a five-run sixth inning. The Tigers’ defense did pitcher Lynsey Duncan no favors, committing five errors in the frame and seven in the game.
All of Desert Vista’s runs and nine of the ten in the contest were unearned.
“When you hit the ball hard, you give yourselves a chance,” Desert Vista coach Chris Crowl said. “A couple things for them, unfortunately, didn’t go their way and we capitalized. That’s key in the playoffs. You have to make them pay when they make a mistake.”
Leadoff hitter Alex Astorga laced a two-out, RBI double to bring the Tigers to within one run in the seventh inning but Block caught a pop-up to end it.
Desert Vista defeated higher-seeded Xavier (No. 13) in the first round before knocking off the Tigers. Crowl said the team’s confidence is high as it continues to move forward.
“These girls have been through the fire and I know they’re going to stay strong,” Crowl said. “I feel really good about where they are and the opportunity they have. It’s exciting.”