By Andrew Luberda
The 2013 edition of the Panthers softball team has extremely high expectations, according to second-year head coach Cheryl Lopez. The Panthers return several players with plenty of experience. That experience combined with a strong freshmen group explains the optimism.
The Panthers have eight players returning from last season’s team. The newcomers are all freshmen.
Players returning from last season include seniors Christine Grap, Yulissa Sandoval and Aliya Perez. The returning juniors are Ariel Alonzo, Kiara Romero and Mariza Padilla. Cierra Navarrette and Hunter Flanagan are returning sophomores.
The super six freshmen are Ariana San Miguel, Gabby Salcido, Ivie Lopez, Keana Torres, Pinky Thomas, and Marcelina Jiminez.
Teaching the fundamentals is important to Coach Lopez and Assistant Coach Dora Salcido.
“We will focus on hitting the ball better [as well as] teamwork, communication and pitching,” Lopez said.
The Panthers season started with a scrimmage against Duncan. A team they lost to last year, 11-1. Facing the same pitcher from last season, the Panthers came out swinging against Duncan.
Led by hot hitting Christine Grap and Kiara Romero, the Panthers were victorious 14-3. Grap’s pitching was also strong as she and Freshmen Ivie Lopez limited Duncan to only three runs.
The Panthers next home game is Feb. 22, 2013 vs. Gilbert Christian at Superior HS. After the game vs. Gilbert Christian, the Panthers next home game is Mar. 5, 2013 vs. Globe. Game time is 3:30 p.m.