Morenci evens record at .500 after Safford tourney

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior shortstop Brigid Silvester goes down low to prevent the ball from getting past her. Morenci downed host Safford 9-7 in a bracket pairing of fourth place teams, ending seventh in the two-day, 10-team Safford meet March 2.

By Raymundo Frasquillo

SAFFORD – Morenci’s softball team finished its initial week of competition with a 3-3 overall record.

The Joseph Garcia-coached Wildcats opened the season with a run-ruled 10-0 road win in Pima on Feb. 26; fell 3-1 to San Manuel, downed Winkelman Hayden 6-2, and were edged 6-5 by St. Johns in day one of the Safford Invitational tourney pool play March 2.

San Tan Valley Combs slipped past the Wildcats 7-5 to conclude White Pool play; and Morenci came from behind to defeat Safford in the bracket play pairing of fourth-place pool teams March 3.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald:From left, Morenci alums Anissa Castillo, Tatiana Sandoval, and Audrey Castillo followed the Wildcats in the Safford tourney.

The championship game ended with Combs run-ruling Lakeside Blue Ridge 16-6 for first place, the third place game between Snowflake and San Manuel was not played, St. Johns defeated Miami 8-5 for fifth place, and Hayden downed Tombstone 8-1 for ninth place.

Blue Ridge reached the finale with a 9-2 win over San Manuel, while Combs edged Snowflake 2-1 in the semifinals.

The seeding rounds ran from Friday morning through Saturday morning. The top two teams from both pools qualified for the championship bracket, while the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place teams were in the consolation bracket Saturday afternoon.

Combs finished first in the White Pool with a 3-1 record, San Manuel second (3-1), St. Johns third (2-2), and Hayden fifth (1-3). Combs topped San Manuel 4-3, St. Johns 5-2, and Morenci; San Manuel defeated Morenci, St. Johns 3-1, and Hayden 4-2; St. Johns downed Hayden 14-2 and Morenci; and Hayden edged Combs 6-5.

The Blue Pool winner was Blue Ridge with a 3-1 record, followed by Snowflake 3-1, Miami 2-2, Safford 2-2, and Tombstone 0-4. Blue Ridge downed Miami 13-3, Snowflake 8-7, and Tombstone 20-0; Snowflake defeated Safford 4-3, Tombstone 19-3, and Miami 12-1; and Safford bested Tombstone 13-1 and edged Blue Ridge 4-3.

Morenci’s batters were a combined .326 (31-96) at the plate. The Wildcats struck out 16 times, drew 17 walks, were beaned once, and recorded two sacrifices, while opponents batted .316 (30-95), struck out 18 times, walked six times, were beaned once, and had one sacrifice.

Freshman Devanee Medina batted .750 (3-4), sophomore Jadyn Aguilera .625 (5-8), junior Angel Ontiveros .583 (7-12), junior Brigid Silvester .429 (6-14), senior Kayla Cueto .400 (2-5), sophomore Candace Forgach-Aguilar .375 (3-7), senior Jaim’ee Rodriguez .200 (2-10), senior Caasi Apodaca .200 (1-5), sophomore Lanae Leonard .100 (1-10), senior destiny Chavarria .090 (1-11), and sophomore Marissa Gallegos 0-2.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Safford freshman Rios struck out four, walked one, beaned one, and yielded three hits while facing 13 batters in 2 2/3 innings of relief against Morenci.

Morenci – 9, Safford – 7

A 9-run second inning lifted the Wildcats past the Bulldogs’ 3-0 first-inning advantage. A total of 14 Wildcats went to the plate, scoring nine runs on four singles and six walks. A bases-loaded walk, two bases-loaded singles, and two more bases-loaded walks drove in the first five runs, a wild pitch allowed run number six to cross the plate, and two additional bases-loaded singles drove in the other three runs. Safford added four runs in the fourth, but needed three more for the win.

The Wildcats batted .333 (6-18), left six runners on, and committed five errors compared to .250 (5-20), three stranded runners, and three errors by the Bulldogs.

Medina batted 1.000 (2-2, RBI), Silvester .667 (2-3, RBI), Cueto .500 (1-2, 2 RBIs), Ontiveros .333 (1-3, RBI), Elianna Cazares 0-0 (RBI), Rodriguez 0-1 (RBI), and Chavarria 0-2 (RBI).

In the circle, Rodriguez (3-3) struck out one, walked one, and yielded five hits while facing 22 batters during four innings.

For Safford, junior Chloie Arellin batted .667 (2-3, triple, 2 RBIs), freshman Rios .500 (1-2, double, RBI), senior Gallegos .333 (1-3), and senior Kristin Cocke 0-0 (sac, RBI).

Cocke gave up seven walks and three hits while facing 14 batters during 1 1/3 innings. Reliever Rios struck out four, yielded three hits, walked one, and beaned one while facing 13 batters during 2 2/3 innings.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci senior first baseman Dominique Garcia fields a grounder before looking to make a play.

Combs – 7, Morenci – 5

Second batter Ontiveros started the scoring on a 2-run home run during Morenci’s initial plate appearance, Combs used a one-out double to tie it at 2-2 in the second and added five more in the third, and Morenci added three in the bottom of the third. Time expired before the Wildcats could bat again, ending with a 2-run loss.   

The Wildcats batted .357 (5-14), left four runners on, and committed six errors compared to .313 (5-16), two stranded runners, and one error by the Coyotes.

Ontiveros batted 1.000 (2-2, home run, 2 RBIs), and Silvester, Chavarria, and Medina (double) .500 (1-2) apiece.

Rodriguez struck out three, walked two, and yielded 12 hits while facing 28 batters during 4 2/3 innings.

For Combs, Shea Pearson batted 1.000 (1-1), and Sam Breed (RBI), Absidee Sanchez (double, RBI), Rylie Williams (double, 2 RBIs), and Reagan Foster .500 (1-2) apiece.

Foster walked three, struck out three and yielded five hits while facing 18 batters during three innings.

St. Johns – 6, Morenci – 5

St. Johns tied the score at 4-4 in the fourth inning, using a two-out single plus consecutive doubles to drive in two runs.

Aguilar singled in a doubled Rodriguez to give Morenci a tie-breaking run in the fifth, but the Redskins used a one-out single and fielder’s choice to get two runners on, and back-to-back singles to drive them in before time expired.

Morenci broke the 0-0 deadlock with three runs in the second. Aguilar singled on, Leonard singled on and Apodaca walked to load the bases. Aguilera singled in Aguilar and both Leonard and Apodaca scored on passed balls. St. Johns added a run in the second, Morenci’s fourth run crossed the plate on an error after a two-out walk, and a two-out single drove in another run in the third for St. Johns to trail 4-2.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior Angel Ontiveros dispatched three pitches over the 200-foot fence during tourney games with San Tan Valley Combs and Winkelman Hayden. The third baseman batted .583 (7-12) with six RBIs during the combined five games played.

The Wildcats batted .318 (7-22), left five runners on, and committed zero errors compared to .462 (12-26), eight stranded runners, and four errors by the Redskins.

Aguilera batted 1.000 (2-2, RBI), Aguilar .667 (2-3, RBI), and Silvester, Rodriguez (double), and Leonard .333 (1-3) apiece.

Rodriguez struck out three, walked two, and yielded 12 hits while facing 28 batters during 4 2/3 innings.

For St. Johns, Addison Greer batted 1.000 (3-3, double, RBI), Lauren Ashton .667 (2-3, 2 doubles, RBI), JoAnn Wahl (2-4, RBI), Ashtyn Crosby (1-2), and Kori Tillman (1-2, RBI) .500 each, and J.J. Zeiler (double, RBI), Danee Bradshaw, and Trachelle Johnson (double) .333 (1-3) apiece.

Tillman yielded three hits and three walked two while facing 16 batters during three innings. Reliever Catelyn Ulabarri allowed four hits while facing nine batters during two innings.

Morenci – 6, Hayden – 2

Morenci erased a 2-run deficit during its first at bat, tying the score on a Rodriguez one-out 2-run home run. A lead-off Ontiveros home run broke the tie and a two-out Aguilar single drove in a singled Cueto in the fourth, and a one-out Ontiveros fifth inning 2-run home run completed the scoring.

Hayden scored on a one-out double and single, and was limited to five base runners, three of whom were thrown out trying to advance to the next base, during the rest of the game.  

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: A game official shakes hands with head coaches, Jordan Ornelas of Safford and Joseph Garcia of Morenci, prior to the start of the game.

The Wildcats batted .409 (9-22), left five runners on, and committed one error compared to .250 (5-20), four stranded runners, and zero errors by the Lobos.

Aguilera (2-2) and Apodaca (1-1) both batted 1.000, Ontiveros .667 (2-3, 2 home runs, 3 RBIs), Cueto and Aguilar (RBI) both .500 (1-2), and both Silvester and Rodriguez (home run, 2 RBIs) .333 (1-3) each.

Rodriguez struck out seven, walked one, and yielded five hits while facing 21 batters during five innings.

For Hayden, Arbizo (2-2, double, RBI) and Gonzales (1-1) both batted 1.000, Perez .500 (1-2), and Ochoa .333 (1-3, double, RBI).

Stacey allowed nine hits and two walks while facing 24 batters during 4 1/3 innings.

Raymundo Frasquillo Photo/Gila Herald: Morenci junior Marissa Gallegos makes the third out in the third inning against Safford.

San Manuel – 3, Morenci – 1

Morenci broke a scoreless tie in the fourth inning with a walked Rodriguez driven in on an error while San Manuel countered with two runs scored on a one-out triple and a third run scored on an error. A called third strike and ground out sent the Miners into the field.

A two-out ground out left two Wildcats on in the fifth to end the game.

Morenci batted .200 (4-20), left five runners on, and committed one error compared to .231 (3-13), no stranded runners, and two errors by San Manuel.

Ontiveros batted 1.000 (2-2), Aguilera .500 (1-2), and Silvester .333 (1-3).

Rodriguez struck out four, walked one, beaned one and yielded three hits while facing 15 batters during four innings.

For San Manuel, Jazmine Waddell batted 1.000  (2-2, triple, 2 RBIs) and Aubrey Encinas .500 (1-2).

Waddell struck out nine, walked one, and allowed two hits while facing 21 batters during four innings.

Morenci – 10, Pima – 0

Following two scoreless innings of play in the season opener, the Wildcats sent 13 batters to the plate in the third, scoring nine runs before the third out was recorded. Chavarria singled in lead-off singled Silvester, Ontiveros drove in three runs on a home run, a bases-loaded two-out Lindsey single drove in two runs and a passed ball allowed her to cross the plate, a passed ball score a singled Silvester, and a Rodriguez double drove in a singled Chavarria. A ground-out sent the Wildcats on defense.

Garcia doubled in a singled Aguilar with one out in the fourth and both teams went three up and three down in the fifth. 

The Wildcats batted .462 (12-26), left five runners on, and committed one error compared to .125 (2-16), four stranded runners, and two errors by the Roughriders.

Aguilar (2-2) and Rodriguez (1-1, double, RBI) both batted 1.000, Silvester (2-4), Chavarria (2-4, RBI), and Leonard .500 apiece, and Ontiveros (home run, 3 RBIs), Garcia (double, RBI),  Aguilera, and Lindsey (2 RBIs) .333 (1-3) each.

Rodriguez struck out four, walked two, and yielded two hits while facing 19 batters during five innings.

For Pima, Holly Reynolds and Kayla Hawkins both batted .500 (1-2).

Kaylee Carbajal walked four, beaned one and allowed 12 hits while facing 30 batters during five innings.

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