Mon, Feb. 17

Late hits lead to win over Piñon

After Piñon jumped to a 5-2 start, coach Debbi Miller began to worry about whether they would make it past the first round of the regional tournament. But the Camp Verde softball team stayed focused and pulled out an 11-7 win and earned a ticket to the State Tournament.

Tuesday's game against Piñon was an important one for the Cowboys. A loss would have sent them home for the season. But after falling behind in the first inning, the Cowboys regrouped and began hitting the ball well to overcome the deficit.

In the top of the third inning, the Cowboys tied the game 5-5. Jamie Cupp led off with a single, followed by a double by Ashley Slifer to score Cupp. With one out, Cherise Fullbright connected for a single. With two runners on, Kayla Poepple hit an RBI single and then Fullbright reached home on a fielder's choice.

Piñon stayed one step ahead with a run in the bottom of the third to take back the lead 6-5. The Cowboys didn't stay down long as they scored three more runs in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Cupp singled and then Slifer hit a fly ball over the right fielder's head for a 2 RBI homerun. Then the scoring continued when Slaughter singled and eventually scored of a Fullbright single.

Ahead 8-7, the Cowboys never again gave up the lead. They added three more runs in the top of the sixth inning to make it 11-7. Jessica Swires started the 6th inning rally with a homerun. Then with two outs, Slaughter singled, Fullbright singled, Poepple singled for an RBI and Fullbright scored on a wild pitch.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Cowboys put an exclamation point on their victory when the first Piñon batter got on with a walk. Then Camp Verde picked her off at third base. Then Piñon got another runner on and Camp Verde picked her off at second. Then Petska on the mound struck a batter out for the final out of the game.

Petska struck out eight batters in seven innings.

"We had our errors and walks, but the good thing is that the girls never gave up," said coach Miller.

Leading at the plate was Fullbright, who went 4-for-4 with two RBIs. Jessica Swires went 2-for-5 with a homerun and an RBI; Cupp went 2-for-5, Slifer went 2-for-4 with a homerun and three RBIs. Slaughter had three hits, including a double and Poepple went 3-for-4.

This win ensures a place at the State Tournament. But before that, the Cowboys will travel to Many Farms on Saturday to take on more region opponents as they try to defend their Region Championship title. The first game on Saturday will be against Williams at 12 p.m. If the Cowboys win that game, then they will be playing in the championship game at 4 p.m. If they lose, then they will be playing for third place at 2 p.m. All four teams will advance to the State Tournament.

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