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Fri, Sept. 20

Camp Verde softball reaches state semifinals

Camp Verde sophomore third baseman Tyra Smith looks for ball that evaded her after a throwing error in the fourth inning of the Cowboys’ 8-2 loss to Bourgade Catholic on Saturday in the state semifinals at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix. Camp Verde beat Santa Cruz Valley 6-2 to earn their second straight state final four appearance. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde sophomore third baseman Tyra Smith looks for ball that evaded her after a throwing error in the fourth inning of the Cowboys’ 8-2 loss to Bourgade Catholic on Saturday in the state semifinals at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix. Camp Verde beat Santa Cruz Valley 6-2 to earn their second straight state final four appearance. (VVN/James Kelley)

PHOENIX – Camp Verde High softball made it to the state semifinals and led top seeded Bourgade Catholic before seeing their season end.

No. 4 Camp Verde (20-9) lost to the No. 1 Golden Eagles 8-2 on Saturday at Rose Mofford Softball Complex.

Pitcher Mallory McDowell led Bourgade Catholic into the state championship game.

“We ran into a good team,” said Camp Verde head coach Henry Smith. “She’s pitching good, we tried to adjust and the game just got away from us on errors.”

Freshman Jacy Finley gave Camp Verde a 2-0 lead in the second inning with a two-run home run. Bourgade Catholic took the lead in the home half of the second with three runs and then scored four in the fourth thanks to Cowboy miscues.

“I feel like we could have done better, there was errors that shouldn’t have been made but we made it this far and hopefully we’ll come back next year,” sophomore Tyra Smith said.

On top of that, Camp Verde rallies were snuffed out multiple times by hitting into inning ending double plays.

“I’m proud of the girls, it was a good season,” Henry Smith said. “They battled it out, it just came down to a couple errors and we gave up a ton of runs on it, kinda took us out of the game, took some momentum away, but give it to them, nothing to take it away, they made some really, really good plays that normally would have hit the ground and made a couple base running errors trying to advance more than we should have but at the end of the day, to me it was a sign of them trying to do as much as they can to win the game and it just didn’t come out in our favor (Saturday).”

Camp Verde’s double plays were line drives where after catching it, the Golden Eagle forced out the Cowboy trying to advance before they could get back to the bases.

“We try to just shake it off a little bit and just short term memory, just keep playing on,” senior Amber Dodge said.

Bourgade Catholic (28-6) beat Camp Verde to improve to 18-0 against 2A teams but lost to No. 2 Benson 5-1 in the championship game.

Camp Verde lost 9-2 to Bourgade Catholic on March 14 at home as they were still figuring out their lineup.

“I think it was a great season,” Henry Smith said. “We learned a lot, we started out having a lot to figure out, Toni (Harris) and I spent a lot of time figuring out what’s the best way to manage this team, we both had to change our coaching styles in order to accommodate this type of team and we made those changes and it allowed us to get deep into the playoffs so to still finish in the final four is still a big deal, it’s an accomplishment for our girls and we’ll be right back here next year.”

This was the second season in a row that Camp Verde made the final four after finishing as a state finalist last year.

Under Henry Smith, the Cowboys have won 20, 30 and 23 games. In 2013 and 2012 before he became head coach, they won 14 and 5.

“It’s pretty cool, it just shows that hard work pays off,” Dodge said. “We just came out with so many new players and we tried to adjust and adjust and then we finally got it down.”

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