Wildcats have banner year, earn region title

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Morenci senior Jorden Seballos takes some warm-up pitches with infield teammates Krystyna Chavarria, Destiny Apodaca, Caitlynn Blair, Shelby Aguallo and Sabyn Martinez watching. Morenci earned the region title with a 5-2 win.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

MORENCI – Morenci’s softball team completed the regular season with a 10-game win streak and a program first 2A East Region title, following a 5-2 home triumph over Thatcher April 26.

The Wildcats (24-6-1 overall, 15-3 power record for No. 3, 11.6638 rating) finished out March with a 5-2 record, defeating the Hayden Lobos twice in four innings (17-1 and 21-1) during a double-header at Winkelman March 18, the Cowgirls 9-4 in Willcox March 21, the Eagles 2-1 in Thatcher March 28, and the Bisbee Pumas 16-0 during five-innings March 31. The two losses were at the hands of the Bayard Cobre Indians, 2-1 in New Mexico March 15 and 11-2 at home March 25.

Morenci downed the Benson Bobcats 6-5 April 4, the Roughriders 7-2 in Pima April 5, the Yellow Jackets 20-0 during five innings in Tombstone April 8, the Safford Bulldogs 5-2 during 11 innings April 11, the Cowgirls 7-1 April 13, the Pumas 28-2 during five innings in Bisbee April 15, and the Round Valley Elks 7-3 in Eagar April 15.

The Wildcats split with Benson, each ending with an 11-1 region record, but a 12-1 conference record verses 13-2 for the Bobcats, earned the automatic bid to the state meet.

Morenci batted .355 (120-338) with 21 doubles, seven triples, and eight home runs; drove in 74 percent (98-132) of its runs, and averaged an 11-2 (132-23) score for 12 region games. Plans to add a banner to the Wildcat Memorial Gymnasium wall were set in motion.

Morenci vs. Thatcher

Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Thatcher junior pitcher Edna Apodaca delivers the ball against Morenci, yielding four hits, four walks, beaning one and striking out one while facing 31 batters during 7 innings April 26.

Shaunee Seballos singled in the Wildcats’ initial run during the second inning with two outs, Sabyn Martinez the second, and a 3-run Destiny Apodaca home run the other three. A one out single, a two out fielding error plus a passed ball allowed Heather Lee and Audrey Castillo to be in position for their teammates to drive them in.

A total of 18 batters stepped to the plate in the ensuing four innings with none able come home. Morenci had a runner at third with two outs, the bases loaded with two outs, a runner on first with one out, and a runner on first with no outs, but the Wildcats could not score.

The game appeared to be at its end as a 5-0 advantage after the numbers three and four batters recorded outs in the seventh. However, a pitching change allowing a teammate game time in the circle on senior night drew a pair of walks. A double by the number seven batter sent two unearned runs in for Thatcher before starting pitcher Martinez was reinserted. A ground out ended the game.

Morenci batted .160 (4-25), fielded 1.000 (30-30), left seven runners on, and was error-free while Thatcher batted .130 (3-23), fielded .926 (25-27), stranded two runners, and committed two errors.

Seballos batted 1.000 (1-1, RBI), Martinez (RBI) and Lee both .500 (1-2), ad Apodaca .250 (1-4, home run, 3 RBIs).

In the circle, Martinez struck out five, walked one, and yielded a hit while facing 23 batters during seven innings. Jorden Seballos walked two and allowed a hit while facing three batters.

For Thatcher, Briana McBride batted .667 (2-3) and Ashtyn Adams .333 (1-3, double, 2 RBIs).

Edna Apodaca walked four, beaned one, struck out one, and gave up four hits while facing 31 batters during six innings.