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Prescott falls in softball slugfest
Prep Softball

Prescott’s Tessa Eppele went 3 for 4 with a three-run triple and an RBI single in Friday’s game. (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

Prescott’s Tessa Eppele went 3 for 4 with a three-run triple and an RBI single in Friday’s game. (Les Stukenberg/Courier file)

PRESCOTT — Playing in cold, wet and windy conditions under partly cloudy skies, Prescott’s softball team seemed a bit under the weather on Friday, April 12, with the exception of the fourth and fifth innings.

However, not even the 12 combined runs that the Badgers scored in those frames could spare them from suffering an eighth straight loss, as they succumbed, 21-14, to 4A No. 15-ranked Saguaro in a slugfest at their campus field.

Saguaro of the Desert Sky region jumped on Prescott from the start, grabbing a 10-2 lead by the end of the third inning. It seemed as though the Badgers were through, but they scored six runs on four hits in the fourth to try and make a game of it.

“We’ve been having it rough pretty much since the beginning of the season,” Prescott senior Morgan Little said. “But [Friday] we really showed some heart and really pulled through in those last few innings. If we do the same thing next week, we should do pretty good.”

The Sabercats exploited the Badgers’ suspect defense, though, and pulled out their secret weapon — effective small-ball tactics — in the fifth. Saguaro, which finished with 16 total hits, plated seven more runs on five singles, two of which were bunts. Prescott committed three of its nine errors for the contest in the nightmarish frame.

“It’s a little bit of a microcosm of how we’ve been all year,” Prescott coach Randall Bryan said. “The kids will fight — they’ll battle, they won’t quit, ever. But they do some things that hurt us, and most of it is just focus and either trying too hard or not really thinking ahead. They could be good if they clean that up.”

At the dish, Saguaro was led by catcher Brooke Piazza, who went 4 for 5 with two doubles, an RBI and four runs scored. Piazza said that over the past month the Sabercats have played with a more even keel – not panicking when things go wrong.

“We’ll call time, we’ll talk to each other and we’ll be able to group together,” Piazza added. “It’s just been great knowing that I can talk to the team, they’ll listen, they’ll calm down, we’ll take a deep breath and we’ll get back in the game.”

Aliyah Santiago (3 for 4, double, three RBIs, two walks, three runs scored) and Berkley Dobson (3 for 5, two-run double, two runs scored) also stood out. Santiago, who transferred from a small charter school to Saguaro for her senior year, said the team has gelled and communicates well.

“Everyone feels so comfortable with each other and it’s a light air,” Santiago added. “If we just keep that light air going and being comfortable out there and smooth, then our success will keep on going.”

For Prescott, which managed 13 total hits, senior second baseman Tessa Eppele took charge, going 3 for 4 with a three-run triple in the fourth, an RBI single and a run scored. Little (3 for 3, run scored), freshman Leah Walker (two-run homer, two runs scored), Sophia Fanchin (two-run double in the fifth) and Hannah Irvine (double, run scored) contributed, too.

For Walker, her home run in the fourth inning on Friday was the first of her high school career.

“I’ve worked really hard to try to get where I am, and it felt really great knowing that all the hard work that I’ve been putting in finally paid off,” Walker said.

With the loss, the Badgers’ record dipped to 3-12 in power-point games. Saguaro improved to 11-3.

“We really do have a lot of heart, and every girl has a lot of love for the sport,” Walker added about her struggling Prescott squad. “So even though it’s kind of been a little bit of a rough season, really in our hearts we know what we can do. We know what we’re capable of.”

UP NEXT

Prescott has three games left in the regular season, all in the Grand Canyon region. At 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, the Badgers (0-9 region) play host to Mohave (2-8) for their home finale on Senior Day. Six seniors will be honored.

Saguaro plays host to 5A No. 23-ranked Desert Mountain (7-8 record in power-point games) at 4 p.m. Monday, April 15.

Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at dcook@prescottaz.com or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.

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