Thu, May 23

Camp Verde’s Finley dominant in high school debut days after basketball season

Camp Verde freshman Jacy Finley led the Lady Cowboys to a 15-2 win over Mayer. Finley did not give up a hit in her debut. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde freshman Jacy Finley led the Lady Cowboys to a 15-2 win over Mayer. Finley did not give up a hit in her debut. (VVN/James Kelley)

Fresh from the basketball court, Camp Verde freshman pitcher Jacy Finley held Mayer hitless in her debut as the Lady Cowboys’ ace.

Finley pitched three innings and struck out eight of the ten batters she faced as Camp Verde beat Mayer 15-2 to open the season last week.

Camp Verde head coach Henry Smith said Finley is willing to take on the struggle in order to be really good.

Before the season he said rookie pitcher would do well.

“I think sometimes for me I gain expectations because I’ve seen it and I know what they’re capable of,” Henry Smith said. “In this case I know what Jacy is capable of doing and the biggest thing with Jacy is that she always works hard and she always is looking to get better and she’s a great student, as far as student of the game.”

Finley, a post on the basketball team during 2016-17, pitched against Mayer five days after the hoops team’s season in the state tournament.

Henry Smith said that right now they are working on Finley’s confidence and her location, trying to get her to peak by playoff time.

While Finley is filling the big shoes of last year’s ace Taya Smith, the 2016 and 2015 Division IV Section I Player of the Year, she has help her.

“She’s really good friends with Taya and I know that they communicate often as far as maybe how to throw or certain pitch or different situations,” Henry Smith said. “So having that role model or that leader, I think that helps Jacy a lot, to be able to call upon somebody that she looks up to and then Taya being willing to answer and help out any way she can to help her get better.”

VVN: How has the season gone for you so far?

Finley: So far it’s been going pretty good. We’ve been playing well in our games and we’ve been working hard in practice and everything.

VVN: How about for you personally?

Finley: I’ve been getting better at pitching and working on hitting my location better and working on live hitting in practice. It’s harder off of live batters, instead of just pitching to a catcher all the time, so I’ve been working on that.

VVN: How hard has that transition from basketball right away to softball, because you had the game right after basketball season ended?

Finley: It was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be but so far it has gone pretty good and it’s been kinda hard getting used to it but I think I’m pretty comfortable with it right now.

VVN: Did you do stuff during basketball season to prepare for softball, like throwing or anything?

Finley: Yeah a few times. I guess before basketball season started we still kind of had a couple tournaments from travel ball, but when we had basketball practice I would go home and hit into my net sometimes or throw over hand and practice pitching on the weekends when I had the time.

VVN: Is your timing still, especially with batting, still kind of recovering?

Finley: Yeah it’s still recovering. I’ve been working on it a lot in practice and everything but in games so far it’s kinda been difficult for me but I hope to get better through out the season.

VVN: It seems like you guys have a lot of players from basketball coming over, does it kinda make it easier to kind of have like a little group coming over?

Finley: Everybody that came over from basketball, I’ve kinda played with them for a while, so it made it easier because this year being on a high school team, so I didn’t know everybody very well, but it really helped a lot when the basketball girls came over with me.

VVN: Coach before the season knew that you be successful but is it really hard stepping in the No. 1 slot as an ace for a team that’s already been so successful?

Finley: It kinda psyched me out a little bit because Taya is a lot to live up to. It wasn’t like super hard but I’m glad that I got to.

VVN: Did you talk to her at all before the season?

Finley: Yeah, she used to come to our games in tournament ball and everything and she helps be sometimes and she texted me before the season, like trying to prepare me and everything and encouraging me.

VVN: For you personally, what’s the transition to high school been like, overall?

Finley: It’s a lot faster than 8th grade and middle school ball. It’s like faster paced and there’s a lot better players that have been more experienced than when I played middle school.

VVN: What’s your favorite class?

Finley: My favorite class would probably be sports med or history.

VVN: How come?

Finley: I like sports med a lot, I want to be an athletic trainer when I grow up, kinda like my brother and I don’t know, I just have a lot of interest for it and for history, we have a good teacher. I kinda like hearing about what happened in previous events and what happened all around the world.

VVN: What are the other things you’re into, other hobbies, besides sports?

Finley: I like to hang out with my friends but if I do hang out with them, it’s usually at the rec center and we go play basketball or something.