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
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.