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Sun, Aug. 25

Camp Verde softball eyes return to state championship game

Camp Verde sophomore Casandra Casillas gets a hit during the Cowboys’ 10-0 win over Globe in the state tournament on Saturday in Phoenix. VVN/James Kelley

Camp Verde sophomore Casandra Casillas gets a hit during the Cowboys’ 10-0 win over Globe in the state tournament on Saturday in Phoenix. VVN/James Kelley

After a couple run rule wins, Camp Verde High softball finds itself a victoy away from a return to the state championship game.

The No. 3 Cowboys face No. 2 Trivium Prep on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.

This is the Cowboys’ fourth straight final four appearance. They made it to the state championship game in 2018 and 2016.

CV head coach Henry Smith said practices have gone well this week.

“We changed it up a little bit this week,” Smiths said. “In the past we’ve really hit it super hard and we tried to fix a bunch of stuff in the last minute and this year we made the decision that we were gonna pick up as much as we can throughout the season and at the end we were gonna maintain and ride it out and go into the tournament with what we have, so we stuck to that this season and turned out to be really good; their athleticism is super high right now, they’re really excited. We spent the whole week with stretching and hydrating and getting muscles prepared, taking it easy on the joints and just being nice and easy and keeping the energy excited.”

The Cowboys face Trivium Prep in the postseason for the second straight season but CV’s focus is on themselves. Last year the Cowboys beat the Crimson Knights 5-2 in the state quarterfinals.

“I don’t ever look into our opponents, even going into the state game, whoever we play,” Smith said. “I won’t spend any time looking into them much just because for me, at this level and these players all the need to do is execute just come in with high energy and just give what they have. We’re prepared to play, so whatever we face we’re prepared to face it.”

Trivium Prep went 17-0 in power point games this year. However the Cowboys opened the tournament with a 14-0 win over No. 14 Heritage Academy Laveen and then a 10-0 win over No. 6 Globe.

Smith said the Cowboys’ depth is probably the biggest key to their success this year.

“Everyday that’s what we do, we compete with each other everyday,” Smith said. “Every single player knows regardless if you’re a senior, a freshman, that you can win a spot or lose a spot. We play on effort, that’s basically what we judge off. We never have a problem with effort because everybody knows that’s what we’re asking so when the players know that they’re competing every day, they’re having fun competing.”

While the CV softball team is used to playing this late in the school year, this season they’re joined by the Cowboy baseball team and the Mingus Union softball team.

Smith said he’s excited to see the other local schools do well and a lot of it is due to the hard work of the other teams’ coaches like John Brown of Mingus Union softball.

“It’s neat to have the whole Verde Valley just step up in athletics, not just in this season in sports but Mingus’ football program is really good, we have great wrestling programs,” Smith said. “I’m a fan of sports in general and to see all these kids become successful in sports it just shows a lot about the staff here at the high schools.”

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