Copper Corridor teams earn top seeds in playoffs

Copper Area News

Four softball teams and three baseball teams from the Copper Corridor earned postseason berths in the 2014 Division IV AIA State Championships.

Defending State Champion San Manuel (second), Ray (fourth), and Superior (fifth) earned three of the top five spots in the softball bracket. Each has a first-round bye and will play second-round games on May 9, 2014, at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.

Hayden is the fourth softball team from the Copper Corridor to reach the playoffs. The 23rd seeded Lobos took on 10th seeded Paradise Honors on May 3, winning in a surprising upset. The Lobos will play 7th seeded Desert Christian.

Bearcats head coach Rikki Galka said she is pleased with her team’s performance down the stretch.

“We’ve figured out that it takes more than one or two players to be a team,” Galka told Copper Area News. “We have to be united to keep climbing, getting better every day, and working hard.”

On the baseball side, San Manuel (third) and Ray (sixth) earned first-round byes and will play second-round games on May 9 at the Goodyear Baseball Complex in Goodyear, Ariz.

The young Superior Panthers surprised everyone in the state except themselves in earning a postseason berth. The 11th seeded Panthers, led by senior Cesar Villalobos, junior Ricky Longoria, and freshman Nicolaus Cruz, crushed 22nd-seeded San Carlos in the opening round of the state playoffs, 10 – 0. The Panthers will play 6th-seed Ray in the second round. It will be the third meeting of the year between the teams.

The full brackets can be found at Follow for updates and future game dates as the teams advance through the playoffs.

Andy Luberda (160 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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