Photo By Raymundo Frasquillo: Three-year starter Destiny Apodaca concentrates on hitting the ball during a recent practice session. The senior infielder batted 1.000 (6-6, 4 RBIs) and hit for the cycle in Tombstone, getting three singles, a double, triple, and home run.
By Raymundo Frasquillo
TOMBSTONE – Challenging themselves every day by doing something they didn’t know they could do before they tried, and succeeding is what the Morenci softball team is about. Getting better and improving in all facets is what is taking place. The Wildcats have no control over how their opponents prepare.
Last season, Morenci outscored Tombstone 38-1 in two softball games totaling nine innings, 18-1 in four innings at home and 20-0 in five innings at Tombstone.
In the prior three seasons (2015-17), Tombstone finished a combined 18-57 (2017: 2-24, 2016: 5-19, 2015: 11-4) while Morenci ended 69-29-1 (25-7-1, 22-11, 22-11).
The Joseph Garcia-coached Wildcats kicked off the 2018 season with a run-rule shortened region road game in Tombstone, topping the Yellow Jackets 37-0 in five innings Feb. 24.
Morenci got right to business, sending 26 batters to the plate during its initial at-bat, scoring 20 runs, and leaving the bases loaded. The Wildcats added 16 runs in the second and one in the fourth. Eight of the runs were scored on errors and the other 27 were driven in.
The Wildcats batted .661 (37-56), fielded 1.000 (15-15), and left nine runners on while the host Yellow Jackets’ went .118 (2-17), getting two on with a double and a single, and stranding both of them.
Senior Destiny Apodaca (6-6, 4 RBIs, double, triple, home run), junior Heather Lee (6-6, 3 doubles, 2 triples), senior Shaunee Seballos (5-5, 7 RBIs, 2 doubles, triple), and sophomore Brigid Silvester (2-2) batted 1.000 apiece, senior Tatiana Sandoval .800 (4-5, 2 RBIs, double), junior Jaimee Rodriguez .667 (4-6, 5 RBIs, 3 doubles), senior Audrey Castillo .600 (3-5, 2RBIs, double), sophomore Angel Ontiveros (3-6, 3RBIs, double, home run) and junior Dominique Garcia (1-2, double) both ,500, senior Alexis Gregory .333 (2-6, 2RBIs, double, sac), and junior destiny Chavarria .250 (1-4, double).
In the circle, Rodriguez struck out 11 and yielded two hits while facing 17 batters in five innings.
David Gallegos, Jose Aguilera, Jesleena Casillas, and Danielle Lopez are assisting last season’s East Region Coach-of-the-Year.
Morenci’s next challenge is with the Miami Vandals on Friday, March 2, at 9:30 a.m. during the 2-day, 10-team Safford Invitational. The meet opens with the host Safford Bulldogs taking on the Winkelman Hayden Lobos at 8 a.m.
Other participating teams include the Lakeside Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets, the San Manuel Miners, the San Tan Valley Combs Coyotes, the Snowflake Lobos, the Tombstone Yellow Jackets, and the Tucson Amphitheater Panthers.
The initial rounds run from Friday morning through Saturday morning. The bracket play begins after seedings are determined.
Safford Invitational Schedule
8 a.m. – Safford vs. Hayden and Combs vs. San Manuel;
9:30 a.m. – Morenci vs. Miami and Amphitheater vs. Blue Ridge;
11 a.m. – Safford vs. Snowflake and San Manuel vs. Tombstone;
12:30 p.m. – Blue Ridge vs. Combs and Hayden vs. Miami;
2 p.m. – Morenci vs. Snowflake and Amphitheater vs. San Manuel;
3:30 p.m. – Safford vs. Miami and Blue Ridge vs. Tombstone;
5 p.m. – Morenci vs. Hayden and Amphitheater vs. Combs;
8 a.m. – Amphitheater vs. Tombstone and Hayden vs. Snowflake;
9:30 a.m. – Safford vs. Morenci and Blue Ridge vs. San Manuel;
11 a.m. – Combs vs. Tombstone and Miami vs. Snowflake.
Morenci returns to region play at home against Benson on Tuesday, March 6.