Bearcats eliminated by narrow loss in state playoffs

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

  The No. 4-seed Ray baseball entered Friday night’s semifinal playoff game in Goodyear versus top-seed and rival Superior knowing it had lost both previous meeting between the teams by a combined score of 35 – 9.

Ray High Bearcats

  The Cats made the third game between the teams a lot closer than most thought, taking the lead twice before the Panthers scored a lone run in the fifth to take a 7 – 6 lead they would not relinquish.

  It was a disappointing ending to what was an otherwise spectacular season by the Cats.

  “It definitely was,” Ray head coach Frank Lechuga told the Copper Basin News. “We knew what we had to do to get the job done. We changed some of our work habits and the boys dedicated some extra time to it.”

  “It was a good game all around,” he continued. “Superior came out on top and deserved to win.”

  Perhaps one surprising change was Lechuga tabbing senior Brett Fackiner to take the ball against the Panthers rather than ace Noah Warren, who the led the Cats with 9 wins this season.

Fackiner’s first-round performance against Rock Point – he fanned five of the six batters he faced – and the fact that he hadn’t previously started versus the Panthers were the reasons Lechuga gave for his decision.

  “I decided to try to give them a little bit of twist with Mr. Fackiner,” Lechuga said. “He did one heck of a job. He was hitting his spots. A couple of calls could’ve gone either way and it could’ve been a whole different ball game.”

  Ray took a 1 – 0 lead in the second before Superior’s Edgar Galindo homered in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game.

  The Panthers added three runs in the third before the Cats’ offense came alive, scoring five runs in the fourth to grab a 6 – 4 lead.

  Anthony Lopez and Fackiner each had two hits in the game, including a double by Fackiner, who also had an RBI. Senior Jordan pace went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI. Jaden Pace, Anthony Acuna, Fabian Valenzuela, and Charlie Romero, who doubled, each had hits in the loss. Bray, Lopez and Valenzuela had an RBI apiece.

  Superior tied it with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth before plating the difference maker in the fifth.

  “I think we did a good job,” Lechuga said. “I think the main thing is we stayed focus, which was a part of the problem in the first two games; when things didn’t go our way we lost focus.”

  “But the boys really grew from those two games and were able to get done what they needed to. Unfortunately we just came up one run short.”

Andy Luberda (965 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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    Third Trip to State Semis is Super(ior)

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      The Superior football team reached the 1A State Championship Semifinal game for the third-consecutive year and the third time […]


    Future is bright for young Miners’ X-Country team

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      The 2017 San Manuel cross-country team consists of 13 members – five boys and eight girls – with only […]


    Miner Swimmers compete at State Championship Swim Meet

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      The Division III High School State Championship Swim Meet was held at the Phoenix Country Day  Aquatic Center in […]


    ADOT addresses Renaissance Festival traffic

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      The State Transportation board met last week for a work session.  On that agenda included an update regarding the […]


  • Additional Stories

    Ray quartet earns volleyball All-Region honors

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      Four members of the state-qualifying Ray volleyball team earned Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) 1A East All-Region recognition.   Hitter […]


    Clyde William McCroskey

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      Clyde William McCroskey, 95, of Kearny AZ, passed away the morning of Nov. 3, 2017.    Clyde, also known […]


    Georgie Digs: Early Hayden High School Days

    November 13th, 2017
    by

    By Georgiana Wood I recently had the privilege of reading a friend’s 1941 Hayden, Arizona High School yearbook called “El […]


    Along the Gila: Community Pulling Together for Jena Martinez Inzuza

    November 13th, 2017
    by

      The Copper Basin Chamber of Commerce and Rip’s NAPA Store will present the Fall Festival and the K Town […]


  • Copperarea

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Southeast Valley Ledger