TEMPE, AZ (Tucson News Now) - And the young shall lead them.
Freshman pitcher Mariah Lopez pitched a complete game Monday night at ASU's Farrington Stadium helping push Cienega to a 4-1 win over rival Sahuaro.
The victory brought the Bobcats (28-7) the Conference 5A state championship, their third title this decade (2010 and 2015), all under the guidance of head coach Eric Tatham.
Cienega Postgame Download (Reaction from the Bobcats)
Lopez dominated the Cougars in her last two appearances against them after she allowed seven earned runs in an 8-6 loss on March 28.
She came back and shutout Sahuaro on April 11 limiting the Cougars to just two hits. They were able to get just six on Monday night.
Kaitlyn Anderson and Jenessa Jarvis hit solo home runs off Sahuaro ace Lexy Coons to stake the Bobcats to an early 2-0 lead.
Cienega went up 4-0 in the third on an RBI single by Shae Bush and an RBI double by Miranda Carley.
Carley provided the defensive gem of the game. The junior made a diving catch on a 5th inning line drive off the bat Robbyn Oppel, and was able to double up Danielle Jameison at second base.
Brianna Jackson provided the only scoring for Sahuaro (27-11) on a 4th inning RBI single.
Jackson played well defensively, throwing out two Bobcats baserunners attempting to steal second base.
The Cougars came up short in their run to win a ninth state softball crown. It would have been their first since 1991.
Cienega's victory means Southern Arizona high schools won four of the six conference state championships in softball. The other winners were Canyon del Oro (4A), Empire (3A) and Benson (2A).