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By Brian Bergner Jr.

Larson Newspapers

After a frustrating loss to Estrella Foothills High on April 8 the Sedona Red Rock High softball team returned to the field of play on Monday, April 13, determined to get back on track. They did so, taking both games of a doubleheader with River Valley High.

“River Valley was the only team in our region we had not played; we weren’t really sure what to expect as they have played really well this season,” first year Sedona head coach John Brown said.

The Scorpions have won seven of their last eight games including the two over River Valley on Monday, which has put their record at 13-4 overall on the season and 6-2 in 3A-West region play, good enough for second place behind Estrella Foothills.

In game one on Monday, freshman starting pitcher Whitney Cooper set the tone by striking out the side in order in the top of the first inning, bringing the Sedona bats up quickly on a beautiful April afternoon.

Sedona failed to score in the bottom of the first inning but by the bottom of the second, the Scorpions finally found a few cracks in the River Valley defense to push across a run.

Freshman catcher Maria Micheli hit a double to bring across teammate Ashley Haas in the bottom of the second, giving Sedona a 1-0 lead and all the confidence they would need.

Micheli recorded a single in the bottom of the fourth inning and scored on a few mishaps by the Dust Devil defense to give the Scorpions a 2-0 advantage while Cooper continued to dominate on the mound.

Cooper, who continues to cement her name into one of the top players in the 3A-West, if not the state, pitched a complete game shutout, going seven innings of two-hit ball while striking out 17 Dust Devil batters.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Cooper picked out her pitch and placed it over the center field wall into a big pile of red dirt from all the construction, giving Sedona a 3-0 lead which would be the final.

“We hit the ball the entire game, just not so much with runners in scoring position,” Sedona assistant coach Monty Cooper said.

“We left 11 runners on base which is never good.”

Game Two

In game two of the doubleheader with River Valley on Monday, Sedona would not hand a gift to the Dust Devils by leaving runners on base as they went on to a 10-2 victory.

After one inning of play, the score was still tied at 0-0 with the same two pitchers on the mound as in the first game for the two rivals.

“The girls seem to struggle with focus early in the game; doubleheaders are tough on young players,” Brown said.

In the top of the second inning however [Sedona was the visiting team in game two], Sedona exploded for eight runs as River Valley couldn’t seem to figure out how to stop the Scorpions.

The Scorpions added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to make it a 10-0 game before River Valley squeaked by with two runs in their half of the fifth but it didn’t matter as Sedona went on to win, 10-2.

Standouts included sophomore first baseman Kaylor Tiffany who was 2-4 at the plate while playing excellent defense on the field.

Micheli was 1-2 with two runs scored and two runs batted in while senior captain Hayley McCord was 2-4 with two runs scored.

Junior second baseman Jenna Diaz also had a nice game at the dish going 2-3 with two runs scored.

Cooper, of course, was her stellar self, pitching seven innings allowing only two runs, none of which were earned, on two hits while walking two and striking out 14.

Up Next

With the two victories on Monday, Sedona basically claimed at least a tie for second place in the 3A-West which means the Scorpions will go to the 3A state playoffs for the first time in several years.

Nothing is guaranteed in this game however as the Scorpions still have four games left starting with South Pointe High at home on Wednesday, April 15.

First pitch is at 3 p.m.

Sedona will then travel to Chino Valley High on Monday, April 20, before playing host to Parker High on Wednesday, April 22, and Wickenburg High on Wednesday, April 29, in the last game of the season.

“We are really starting to click well,” Cooper said.

“I think we are going to peak at just the right time.”


Brian Bergner Jr. can be reached at 282-7795, ext. 131, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 


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