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Sophomore Emma Keider threw a one-hitter, striking out six in her first start Wednesday, March 26, as the Sedona Red Rock High School softball team run-ruled its second team in two days at home, 15-0 over North Pointe Preparatory Academy.

Sophomore shortstop Emma Keider clears third base as the Cortez High School Colts defense runs to make a play on her at home plate during Sedona Red Rock High School’s 14-4 win Tuesday, March 25. In her first outing as a pitcher, Keider threw a one-hitter in a 15-0 win over North Pointe Preparatory Academy on Wednesday March 26.

Keider also doubled and tripled, batting in four runs in four at-bats, including the first RBI of the game to help herself and help junior Emily Aitken, the Scorpions’ regular starting pitcher.

“We wanted to rest [Aitken’s] shoulder,” head coach Mike Keider said. “She had a higher pitch count, and Emily’s the type of pitcher that puts everything in every pitch. That takes a toll on the body.”

While the Falcons had to stick with the slow delivery of their pitcher to the bitter end, Keider was proud of his daughter’s pitching performance in support of Aitken.

“She controlled the plate,” he said. “It’s fortunate we have two [pitchers]. Small schools don’t always have that.”

And as soon as they got on base, the Scorpions [3-2] took advantage — early and often. They had a total of 13 steals, including three by senior catcher Randi Hatcher, who was perfect at the plate, scoring twice on a three-for-three performance with a run-scoring triple.

“Randi, it’s hard to lead off any kind of distance with her,” he said. “She has no problem throwing it down to first or third, if she feels there’s any extra step off.”

Keider also has freshman Courtney Howard to count on behind the plate, as she did Tuesday, March 25, catching a “fantastic” first game with a broken blood vessel in her hand in a five-inning, 14-4 win over Cortez High School.

“We didn’t really find out until after the game,” he said. “She was a trooper. She showed what she was worth. As a freshman, I can’t ask for anything more.”

It was a different story with the Falcons’ battery, Keider said.

“We all know the hardest position on field is actually catcher, but if [runners] are getting off 10 feet after the ball leaves her hand, it’s hard to get anybody out, even if you have a catcher with a rifle for an arm,” he said. “I kind of had a feeling coming into this game it would be great timing to work on baserunning.

“The one disadvantage is, you don’t know what to expect from their side on defense,” he said. “The first at-bat, you see what kind of arm the catcher has, how attentive the infield is going to be, see if they’re going to be aggressive.

“They had a hard time on the mound. Their pitcher almost threw our timing off. And the infield had some problems.”

So much so that, virtually every time the Scorpions took off between first and third base, the Falcons’ catcher simply tossed the ball back to the pitcher, “which was the right thing to do,” Keider said.

“It can be a whole game in itself, baserunning,” Keider said. “When you get into this category of players — there’s just some fantastic players at this level — you have to do it. We wanted to end it in four.”

After going two-for-two as the Scorpions’ sole slap hitter, senior Khalie Barber was turned around to hit right-handed in the middle of the game — the result being an RBI triple that bounced off the fence in right field.

“I was surprised, but it was good to see that she has power,” Keider said. “She’s such a speedster. That’s why we have her slapping — get her on, then steal. Her skills are going to be phenomenal by the end of the season.”

Keider was perhaps most happy with the dramatic improvement of the Scorpions defense, which had no errors March 26 after committing 10 at Camp Verde High School in a 12-2 loss eight days earlier.

“Camp Verde kind of got the girls out of their game, so I was OK with the three errors in the Cortez game,” he said. “They didn’t get to capitalize on them, so to go from 10 to three to zero in three games is improvement.”

Junior Lily Davis added three RBIs on a single and a triple as SRRHS batted around in a six-run fourth inning to seal the game.

For the full story, please see the Friday, March 28, issue of the Sedona Red Rock News.


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