Duncan softball opens season with home loss to Tigers

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Saint David junior Jaelyn Goodman squares around to bunt. Three of the Tigers’ first four batters doubled on while the other one grounded out on a sacrifice bunt. Duncan sophomore third baseman Kierra Lacey moves in to make the possible defensive play. The visitors left Duncan with a 22-3 abbreviated win Feb. 26.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

DUNCAN – The 2020 Duncan Wildkats opened their softball season with a 22-3 abbreviated loss to the visiting Saint David Tigers on Feb. 26.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Duncan leadoff batter Kaktys Garcia fallows the ball into the glove. The senior catcher drew a walk but was forced out at second.

It was the Tigers who ended the Wildkats’ 2019 season with an 8-1 state tourney first-round loss, as the No. 2 ranked team versus No. 15. The Tigers finished 16-5 and returned 12 of its 13 members compared to 5-12 and seven of the 11-member roster returning for Duncan.

Saint David is at Tombstone Feb. 27, hosts Winkelman Hayden March 2 and is at Willcox March 3 before Duncan has its second game, welcoming Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic March 10. The Wildkats downed the Wolves 35-14 in Tucson during the schools’ initial pairing March 19, 2018.

Tigers – 22, Wildkats – 3 (5 inn.)

The visitors sent seven batters to the plate and scored twice as three of the first four batters doubled. Leadoff batter junior Brylee Murray doubled, senior Kyra Richardson doubled in Murray with one out, and senior Kyra Merrill doubled. A walk, strikeout, and fly out left two runners on.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo Gila Herald: Morgan Billingsley’s first plate appearance resulted in a two-out RBI single that tied the score at 2-2. She batted 1.000 (2-2) for the game.

Duncan countered with six batters, senior Kaktys Garcia reaching first on a walk, junior Mia Hoglan on a fielder’s choice, junior Melissa Claridge on a two-out RBI triple, and an RBI Morgan Billingsley single to tie the score before a groundout sent the Wildkats back on defense.

Saint David sent eight batters up in the second and added four runs. Number 9 batter junior Zoey White singled with one out, Murray reached first on a fielding error and White scored to break the 2-2 tie, junior Gennie Morrison singled in Murray, Richardson tripled in Morrison, a Merrill ground out scored Richardson, and senior Jaylin Richardson singled with two outs before a ground out left her on.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Second batter Mia Hoglan reached first on a fielder’s choice against Saint David. The junior outfielder was tripled in to score Duncan’s initial run of the season.

Duncan sophomore Kierra Lacey reached first as the catcher mishandled the third strike, Kiley McGrath drew a walk, and two flies plus a called third strike left them on.

 Fifteen Tigers made their way to the plate in the third, seven in the fourth, and 10 in the fifth as Saint David scored nine runs, three, and four, respectively.

The Wildkats made six trips to the plate in both the third and fourth but came away with a lone run. A walked Claridge scored on a throwing error with one out in the third. Duncan was retired in order during the fifth.

Duncan batted .273 (6-22), left eight runners on, and committed 11 errors compared to .438 (14-32), 10 stranded runners, and two errors for Saint David.

Billingsley (2-2, RBI) and Kyana Lacey (1-1) both batted 1.000, Claridge (triple, RBI) and junior Lauren Basteen (double) both .500 (1-2), and Hoglan .333 (1-3).

In the circle, three Wildkats combined to yield 14 hits, 11 walks, three beaned batters, and struck out three while facing 47 batters during five innings.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Junior Melissa Claridge was one of three Duncan pitchers that combined to allow 14 hits and 11 walks, strikeout three and bean three while facing 47 batters during five innings.

For Saint David, Jaylin Richardson (2-2) and Morrison (1-1, 2 RBIs) each batted 1.000, White .750 (3-4, double, 2 RBIs), Kyra Richardson .667 (2-3, double, triple, 2 RBIs), Murray .600 (3-5, double, triple, 3 RBIs), Goldie Merrill .500 (1-2), and both Megan Merrill (double) and junior Jaelyn Goodman .250 (1-4).

Jaylin Richardson struck out five, walked three, and scattered six hits while facing 26 batters during five innings.