Bearcats wins four in a row after opener loss to Estrella Foothills

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Bearcats’ Robbin Newman makes the tag on a pickoff attempt by a Hayden player. Kelli Luberda | CBN

Bearcats’ Jacob Pace at the plate at the Joe S. Padilla Tournament game against Hayden. Kelli Luberda | CBN

Ray head coach Rene Pacheco with the ‘Cats infield at the Joe S. Padilla Tournament game against Hayden. Kelli Luberda | CBN

‘Cats Destry Yocum crosses the plate at the Joe S. Padilla Tournament game against Hayden. Kelli Luberda | CBN

Copper Basin News

The Bearcats baseball team has won four games in-a-row after losing its opener to Division III state title contender Estrella Foothills, 3 – 2. It is a solid start for team that expects to go a long way in the Division IV state championship playoffs later this season.

The ‘Cats competed in the Joe S. Padilla Baseball Tournament last weekend. Their only loss of the 4-day tournament was a heartbreaker as the Wolves scored 2 runs on a walk-off homerun. The ‘Cats gave an undefeated Wolves’ team their toughest competition of the tournament. Some pre-season rankings had the Wolves ranked as high as second in Division III.

“We knew going into the game we were going to face a pretty solid team,” Ray head coach Rene Pacheco said. “Our kids battled. We gave up a pitch that was probably a little too (good) and the kid drove it out to straight-away centerfield.”

Destry Yocum started against Estrella Foothills and pitched an outstanding game. He allowed only 3 hits and struck out three Wolves’ hitters.

“I was happy,” Pacheco said of his team’s performance. “I thought our kids competed. I was very pleased and I didn’t feel like we were intimidated.”

In their next game versus Hayden, the ‘Cats took out their frustration of the heartbreaking loss in the opener. They defeated the Lobos 13 – 3 to start their winning streak.

Jacob Pace got the start and pitched a 3-hitter to earn the win. Pace allowed 2 runs but both were unearned.

The Bearcats’ hitters were patient at the plate as they drew eight walks in the game. They pounded out eight hits and scored in every inning.

Seth Harmon, Derek Pacheco, Austin Huffman, and Johnny Wernett all doubled in the game. Wernett, Harmon, Pace, and Douglas McPeak each had 2 RBIs.

Defensively, the Bearcats committed 2 errors, which drew the attention of their coach.

“At times today we took a little too much time on some ground balls,” Pacheco said after the game. “I just think our approach wasn’t where it needed to be.”

There is little to complain about after going 4 – 1 in the tournament. And plenty of time to work out any early season jitters. This is a team that expects to win the ultimate prize at season’s end.

“I expect to go all the way and hopefully win a championship this year,” junior Seth Harmon answered when asked what this year’s team is capable of.

Four-year varsity player Dominic Bravo was asked to compare this team to other varsity teams he’s played on.

“This is the best one,” Bravo said without hesitating. “This is probably the team that is going to take it all.”

If the early season results are any indication, the ‘Cats are on the right track.

Upcoming schedule: March 14 at San Carlos (4 p.m.) and March 15 at Salt River (1 p.m.).

Andy Luberda (524 Posts)

Andy Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for eight high schools. His stories are published in the Southeast Valley Ledger, Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College. Andy is currently earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from ASU’s Hugh Downs School of Communication. Andy is scheduled to complete his degree December 2014. He was born and raised in Des Plaines, Ill. In 1992, he relocated to Arizona. After a short return to Des Plaines in 1997, he returned to the Phoenix area two years later. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.

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