Bears softball team sweeps Lee Williams for 20-0 start
PRESCOTT VALLEY — Still unbeaten!
One month into the 2019 season, Bradshaw Mountain’s softball team owns a 20-0 record, and the Bears seem hungry for much, much more.
In a 4A Grand Canyon region doubleheader Friday, March 22, Bradshaw Mountain cruised to a sweep of Lee Williams at the Bears’ campus field, posting 17-0 and 20-0 victories, both in a run-ruled five innings.
On a comfortable, sunny day, Bradshaw Mountain improved to 6-0 in power-point games and 3-0 in region, while Lee Williams dropped to 1-5 and 0-4.
“We’re doing good things and we’re trying to build on them,” veteran Bears coach Sharon Haese said. “We have a lot of region games ahead of us right now. So, our sights are focused on getting better and being prepared for those region games.”
The first 4A state power-point rankings will be released on Tuesday, March 26, via azpreps365.com, and the Bears should be among the Top 5.
“This is what I expected out of us, and I expect us to keep doing this and compete at a very high level,” Bradshaw Mountain pitcher Jacie Hambrick said. “I expect that because we have all the aspects – the pitching, the defense, the hitting.”
Bradshaw Mountain is guided by junior phenom pitchers Hambrick and Caitlynn Neal, junior outfielder Madisen Duryea and junior infielder Kirsten Schmidt. Second baseman Shelby Dilcher, the captain, is the team’s lone senior.
“Our team is a bunch of hard-working girls — we go hard in practice, we go hard in school – so everything we choose to do in life we go hard at,” said Neal, who, along with Hambrick, is playing her first year of high school ball after spending years in club ball. “The energy’s been crazy this year in the dugout.”
In Friday’s Game 1, Hambrick tossed a gem, pitching a perfect five innings to up her record to 9-0. In Game 2, Neal duplicated the feat, tossing her own perfect game in five frames, striking out 12 and walking none. She fanned the side in the second, fourth and fifth innings. Neal, too, is 9-0.
“We haven’t had anybody get past second base [this season], as far as extra-base hits,” Haese said.
At the plate in the opener, Duryea went 3 for 4 with two home runs and four runs scored, boosting her total to a team-high six HRs on the season. Schmidt (two doubles), Neal (double, three runs scored), Schmidt (two doubles), Hambrick (double) and catcher Layla Stouder (triple) also stood out.
Offensively in the second game, Hambrick (3 for 4, double, three RBIs), Duryea (2 for 2, 3 RBIs, three runs scored) and Neal (RBI single, four runs scored) sparkled.
“Twenty-and-0 is amazing, and not very many people can say they’ve been 20-0,” Duryea said. “And no matter where we go from here, we have to be proud of what we’ve accomplished so far.”
BEARS WIN HAUGHT CLASSIC MARCH 16
Late Saturday night, March 16, Bradshaw Mountain captured its second tournament championship of the 2019 season after compiling an 8-0 record at the Gracie Lee Haught Classic in Payson.
Hambrick and Neal were all-tournament team selections.
Hambrick notched four shutout victories on March 15 and 16, racking up 40 strikeouts and allowing only seven hits in 22 innings pitched. At the plate, she batted .400 with six doubles, a home run and eight RBIs.
Neal also tallied four wins in the pitcher’s circle on the 15th and 16th. She tossed two shutouts, including three perfect innings in a 17-0 run-ruled win over Joseph City. In 18 innings pitched, Neal surrendered three runs (two earned) on five hits with 31 strikeouts. At the dish, she batted a whopping .760, blistering a homer, five doubles and five singles with seven RBIs and seven stolen bases.
Bradshaw Mountain’s tournament wins came against Snowflake (1-0, five innings), Joseph City (17-0, three innings) and Sunnyslope (7-0, six innings) in pool play, followed by Gold Bracket victories over Buena (15-0, three innings), Payson (4-0, five innings), Safford (11-1, five innings), Mingus (1-0, six innings) and two-time defending 2A state champion Benson (6-2) in the title game.
Bradshaw Mountain will play four games in five days next week, including three in region.
First up, the Bears play host to Coconino (4-0 record in power-point games, 2-0 Grand Canyon) at 3:45 p.m. Monday, March 25, in Prescott Valley. That game, which had been postponed midstream due to rain, will begin in the fifth inning with the Bears leading, 12-3.
Lee Williams faces 3A Kingman Academy (2-6) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, at Centennial Park in Kingman.
Doug Cook is a sports reporter for The Daily Courier. Follow him on Twitter at @dougout_dc. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-445-3333, ext. 2039.