Bearcats deal Lady Panthers first loss of the season

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Beartcats’ Sarah Duncklee tags out Panthers’ Elizabeth Ochoa on a steal attempt.
Kelli Luberda | CBN

Bearcats Dallas Bushnell looks to put the bunt down. Kelli Luberda | CBN

Copper Basin News

The Ray softball team defeated Superior last Saturday, 6 – 3, and removed the Lady Panthers from the ranks of the unbeaten. The teams met in a game that was part of the Salt River Tournament last weekend.

“We played well and kept our heads in the game,” head coach Rikki Galka said about her team’s performance. “I like what I see in our mental approach to the game.”

The ‘Cats took advantage of some early errors by Superior to take an early 5 – 0 lead.

The Lady Panthers were able to settle in and battle back, scoring 3 unanswered runs to make the score 5 – 3.

Bearcats’ sophomore Stormee Galka scored the sixth run of the game for her team when she alertly scored from third on a passed ball. It appeared to be a risky play at first when it sounded like her coach was yelling, “No, no, no.”

“I didn’t really hear what she said,” Stormee said about the scoring play. “I just took off because I knew it was going to be a passed ball.”

Galka was superb on the mound as well. She limited a potent Lady Panthers team to only three runs. It was Superior’s lowest scoring game of the year and only the second time this season they had been held to fewer than 10 runs scored.

“I have confidence in my defense,” Stormee said.

Coach Galka was obviously pleased with the win against a team that should contend for a playoff spot. But she knows her team needs to improve in some areas to achieve their goals.

“We have to be more consistent on offense,” she said. “We have to be ready to hit at all times.”

Her message should not be difficult to get across as some players on her team feel the same way.

“We need to work more as a team and be more consistent,” Savannah Willis answered when asked what the team needs to do to be successful the rest of the season.

The ‘Cats will have to find their consistency in a hurry with the defending state champions visiting later this week. The ‘Cats will take on the San Manuel Miners in a matchup of two of the top teams in Division IV.

Upcoming Schedule: April 2 at Miami, April 3 vs. Pima, and April 4 vs. San Manuel. All games are scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

Andy Luberda (1029 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.

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