2017 NPF

Championship Series

August 17-20


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Sherman and Hughes Lead Heat to Win

TUCSON, ARIZ – The Arizona Heat won their seventh in a row, with a 16-3 victory of the California Sunbirds. Heat starter Aja Sherman went four strong innings and center fielder Ladonia Hughes went four for four as the Heat continued to roll.

Sherman, in just her second start of the season, pitched four innings allowing only one run. She allowed three hits, walked two and struck out three Sunbirds on the way to her second win of the season. Randi Nielson came on in relief, allowing two runs in two innings of work. Erica Beach pitched a perfect seventh to extend her scoreless inning streak to 27.

The Sunbirds got off to a good start, scoring their first run of the series on an RBI single by Melissa Wood in the first. After a lead off double by Brittany Vanderink, Sherman retired the next two batters before allowing Wood to single the run home.

The Heat did not let the Sunbirds get to comfortable, scoring four runs in the bottom of the inning. Lauren Bauer singled to open the inning and Tairia Flowers drove her home with a single of her own two batters later. After a walk to Stacey Nuveman, Heat catcher Jackie Coburn doubled to the wall driving in another Heat run. Toni Mascarenas followed with a single that brought home Nuveman. A throwing error on the play allowed Coburn to score, and the inning ended with the Heat leading 4-1.

Ladonia Hughes singled to lead off the second and came around to score on Jessica Mendoza’s eighth homerun of the season. Two more runs scored in the inning on a double by Toni Mascarenas. The Heat were back at it in the third, plating two more runs on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly. The Heat got another in the fourth on an RBI single by Cheryl Schaefer. The fourth ended with the Heat leading 11-1.

The Sunbirds were able to get a run back in the fifth on a single by Veronica Wooten. In the next inning, Desiree Williams led off with a solo homerun to close the Heat lead to 11-3. That would be the closest the Sunbirds would come, as the Heat scored five runs in the bottom of the inning. After a lead off walk to Toni Mascarenas, the Heat rattled off four straight hits, capped off by a two run homerun by Cheryl Schaefer. The Sunbirds could not push any runs across in the seventh, and the game ended 16-3 in favor of the Heat.

Ladonia Hughes finished the night by going four for four with a triple and two RBIs from the number nine spot. Nichole Thompson, hitting eighth, went three for four with two doubles and an RBI. Flowers, Mascarenas and Schaefer added two hits apiece, and combined to drive in seven runs. Schaefer hit her first homerun of the season in seventh inning, and Mendoza hit her eighth of the season in the second.

Sunbirds pitcher Leslie Wolfe suffered the loss, allowing eight runs in an inning and two-thirds of work. Eileen Canney came in to pitch the final four plus innings, and allowed eight runs on ten hits.

Brittany Vanderink, Desiree Williams and Teresa Flores had two hits a piece in the loss.

The Heat and Sunbirds will face off again tomorrow night for the third game of the series. Game time is 7:30 pm at Hi Corbett Field.

Contact: Scott Kimmelman, Media Relations, Arizona Heat
520.296.9595 or email