The second edition of the Verde Valley rivalry game, while still a run-rule loss in the end, saw a much-improved performance from the young, inexperienced Sedona Red Rock High School softball team.
Instead of being down 14-0 after the third inning, the Scorpions [4-11, 3-6] faced just a 5-0 deficit against No. 6-ranked Camp Verde High School en route to the 11-1 loss on Tuesday, April 18.
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“We were very happy with their effort, their focus today,” coach Ethan Hartz said. “It has been building up. Probably the last time we played them was the low point and from there we’ve really rebounded.”
Camp Verde’s first two runs came from a two-run home run by freshman Jacy Finley in the first frame. Three more came in the second off the heels of back-to-back extra base hits after the Scorpions defense had secured two outs.
But the Cowboys never scored more than three in any given inning; the last time out the inning-high was eight.
Strong pitching from Red Rock junior Natalie Monge and a more organized, communicative Scorpions defense prevented any big blow- out innings that were common in games past.
“Pitching for me was a great difference,” Monge said. “And everyone was more aware.”
Monge also scored the team’s lone run, in the top of the fourth inning. She drew a walk from her counterpart Finley, and then stole second base. Freshman Natalie Montgomery then singled to right field to send Monge home.
While the Cowboys were able to collect hits and runs to creep closer to the 10-run advantage needed to end the game early, Hartz was happy with the Scorpions’ defense.
“I was just happy with the focus,” Hartz said. “What I was telling them was, every time someone got the ball they knew what to do with it. And we made some mistakes ... I can live with those. They battled.”
Red Rock junior Courtney Chalmers extended her hitting streak to 12 games after notching a double in the sixth inning. Chalmers has collected 18 hits in that span, eight for extra bases.
The only game in which she did not log a hit was on March 2 against Payson High School, as well as in the season opener against Mayer High School when she did not play.
Four consecutive hits for Camp Verde, which racked up 19 total on the day, in the bottom of the sixth put the game away.
The Scorpions lost 14-4 at Northland Preparatory Academy on Wednesday, April 19. Their final game of the season is at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, against Glendale Preparatory Academy, to be played at Maryvale High School.