Roughrider softball bows out early at regionals
YUMA — For the third straight year, Yavapai College’s softball team has been eliminated from regionals, failing to qualify for the NJCAA National Tournament in St. George, Utah.
The second-seeded and NJCAA No. 13-ranked Roughriders were swept out of the Region 1, Division I tournament on Friday, May 10, at Arizona Western College, as No. 3 Central Arizona College extended its winning streak to 10 with a 6-0 victory, and No. 4 Pima Community College rolled to an 11-5 win.
Yavapai concluded its 2019 season with a 46-14 record.
The Vaqueras had compiled a 3-1 head-to-head record against the Roughriders during the regular season. But the Roughriders had gone 3-1 versus traditional region rival Pima.
On Friday versus Central Arizona, Yavapai trailed 1-0 through three innings before the Vaqueras put the game out of reach with a four-run fourth and a one-run fifth.
Central Arizona pitcher Baylee Eaton dominated the Roughriders, tossing a two-hit, complete-game shutout in seven innings. She notched eight strikeouts and three walks.
At the dish, the Vaqueras were led by Madison Besaw, who went 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs. Makiya Thomas (1 for 3, double, two RBIs), Evelyn Roman (2 for 2, run scored) and Aliya Ewell (1 for 4, solo homer, run scored) also fared well.
Yavapai didn’t have an extra-base hit in the contest, as Kylie Brown and Meredith Clark had a single apiece.
In the pitcher’s circle for the Roughriders, Shaye Pinner took the loss, surrendering six runs, although only two were earned, on seven hits. She fanned two and walked one. Zoe Zoellner tossed two innings in relief, allowing one hit and walking two.
Versus Pima, Yavapai also never led. The Aztecs plated a run in the first inning, three in the second, three in the fourth, one in the fifth and three in the seventh. The Roughriders trailed 4-3 through three frames, but Pima outscored Yavapai, 7-2, from the fourth through the seventh innings for the convincing win.
On the pitcher’s slab, Yavapai starter Kendra Duran couldn’t make it out of the second inning, surrendering four runs (two earned) on four hits in 1-2/3 innings. Zoe Zoellner (allowed three runs on five hits, two walks in two frames) and Pinner (allowed four runs on six hits with one strikeout and two walks) struggled, too, in relief.
Pima pitcher Bianca Castillo garnered the victory, giving up five runs (four earned) on 10 hits, striking out three and walking two in the full seven innings. The Aztecs committed four errors to Yavapai’s two.
Offensively, Pima was paced by Devynn Marshall, who went 3 for 5 with a double, a triple, three RBIs and two runs scored. She finished a homer short of the cycle.
Janice Garcia (3 for 4, double, three runs scored, two RBIs), Maria Vanezza Caldera (3 for 4, double, two RBIs, run scored, walk) and Amaya Turner-Vizcarra (2 for 4, RBI, run scored, walk) also sparkled.
The regional tournament concludes Saturday, May 11, at Arizona Western College in Yuma with games 5 (semifinal) and 6 (final) at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., respectively, followed by the if-necessary title game at 3 p.m.
Arizona Western, Central Arizona and Pima remain alive.
The tournament champion will qualify for the national tournament Wednesday, May 22, through Saturday, May 25, in St. George, Utah.
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.