By Frank Smith
The San Manuel Lady Miners softball team is headed for the Division IV State Semi – Finals where they will take on the #14 seed the Lady Vandals from Miami. It has been a while since the Lady Miners have been down this road and they will look to stay on course to the Championship.
With the #2 seed in the State Tournament, the Lady Miners had a first round bye and awaited the winner between #15 St. David and #18 Antelope Union with St. David taking the win 16 – 5 to move on to the next round against the Lady Miners.
On May 3, San Manuel faced off against the Lady Tigers from St. David at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix taking the 11 – 1 win to advance to the next round.
San Manuel scored three runs in the first inning, one run in the third, three in the fourth, and four in the sixth inning.
In the circle for the Lady Miners was Lyana Waddell with Felicia Medina catching, Waddell faced 24batters allowing one run on four hits, collected six strikeouts, walked two batters, one hit by pitch, and one stolen base
At the plate, Mireya Tamayo went 4 for 5 with singles, and three RBI; Alyssa Cuellar went 2 for 4 with a single, a double, a walk, and one RBI; Felicia Medina went 2 for 4 with a single, a double, a stolen base, and two RBI; Angelica Zuniga went 3 for 4 with singles; Lyana Waddell went 1 for 3 with a single, a stolen base, and two RBI; Mariah McBride went 1 for 2 with a single, a fielder’s choice, a stolen base, and one RBI; and Nicole Encinas went 1 for 4 with a single, and two RBI.
“We knew St. David had some hitters in the top of the line-up, so we did our best to throw around them. Waddell came out strong sitting them down in the first inning with three strike outs. Only in two other innings did St. David threaten to score,” said Head Coach Deanne Brewer.
With the win, the Lady Miners would match up against region foe the #7 Lady Lobos from Hayden on May 4 at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
San Manuel had played Hayden three times throughout the season with the Lady Miners winning two out of three – on March 12 in Hayden, San Manuel sneaked by the Lady Lobos 8 – 7; on March 22 in San Manuel – Hayden got the best of the Lady Miners as San Manuel lost 11 – 1; and on March 30 in Hayden – San Manuel returned the favor beating the Lady Lobos 7 – 4 in the Hayden Invitational.
So the match up was set for an interesting game with the Lady Miners winning the game 11 – 7.
In the circle was Nicole Encinas with Mariah McBride catching, Encinas started the game – facing 12 batters in 1 1/2 innings, allowing seven runs on six hits and collected one strikeout. Defensively, the Lady Miners committed four errors.
Coming in for relief was Lyana Waddell with Felicia Medina catching. Waddell came in the second inning to finish the game – facing 21 batters, allowing no runs on three hits, collecting five strikeouts and one walk.
Offensively, Mireya Tamayo went 2 for 4 with singles; Felicia Gomez went 2 for 4 with singles, and three RBI; Alyssa Cuellar went 1 for 4 with a home run, and two RBI; Felicia Medina went 3 for 4 with a single, two doubles, and one RBI; Lyana Waddell went 1 for 4 with a double; and Nicole Encinas went 1 for 3 with a single.
Hayden scored four runs in the first inning, when the second batter (Marinez) got on by an error. The third batter (Estrada) doubled driving her in. The number four batter (Islava) singled driving in the Marinez. Another infield error and hit allowed Islava to score. The Lady Miners couldn’t get anything going in the first inning when they had three fly outs by the first three hitters.
Hayden came up in the second inning with a string of hits scoring three more runs. San Manuel had to make the pitching change.
Coach Brewer said, “Sometimes, teams just get on your pitcher and in the state playoffs, you can’t afford to let a pitcher try to dig themselves out. I tell my teams all the time that state games aren’t typically won by the 10-run rule.”
So with one out, Lyana came in. She got the next batter out with a pop-up, gave up a single and grounded out the next batter for out number three. We started the second inning with a double by Medina, but she was stranded when both Vindiola and Zuniga flew out. Waddell struck out.
The Lady Miners held Hayden with a ground out to short and two strike outs in the top of the third.
“Hayden was playing our hitters deep in the outfield and we just weren’t getting things going, so we decided to go to the short game,” Brewer said.
McBride lead the bottom of the third. Both she and Encinas got on by bunts. Tamayo singled right loading the bases. Gomez singled, driving in McBride and Encinas. Cuellar flew out to left, Zuniga walked and Waddell struck out leaving bases loaded.
In the top of the fourth, Hayden was at the top of the line up. The first batter walked, but was put out by a fielder’s choice to short. The next two batters popped up. McBride led the inning for the Miners. She flew out to short. Encinas drove a single with an error to left field putting her at second. Tamayo grounded out to the pitcher. Gomez singled, driving in Encinas and Cuellar ripped a homer to left center bringing the score to 6 – 7. Medina grounded out on a shot to short stop to end the run.
The Lobos went down 1, 2, 3 in the next two innings. The Lady Miners capitalized rallying for another four runs in the fifth inning. Vindiola lead the inning drawing a walk. Zuniga attempted a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher, but the short stop wasn’t able to make the play at second in an attempt to get Vindiola out. Waddell followed up with a bunt that the pitcher couldn’t make a play on, again loading the bases. McBride followed drawing a walk and Vindiola’s RBI, tying the game 7-7. Encinas got a fielder’s choice when she hit a ground ball to third and they threw Zuniga out at home. Tamayo singled and Waddell scored on an error on the relay to home. McBride also scored when the catcher missed the ball that got thrown home. Gomez and Cuellar couldn’t help score Tamayo, but Miners finished the fifth inning ahead 10-7.
The Lady Miners scored the 11th run when Medina led off the inning with a double. Vindiola flew out to short and Zuniga grounded out to short, but Medina advanced to third and scored on a passed ball. Waddell hit a double and was left on base when McBride grounded out to third.
Miners held the Lobos in the seventh inning when the second batter (Marinez) lead the inning hitting a blooper over third base. Waddell stayed strong striking out Estrada. Islava hit a long fly ball to Zuniga for out number two. Garcia got on with a single but was put out to end the game when Garcia hit a gounder to McBride that she threw to Tamayo for the third out.
“I knew we would have a tough game with Hayden. Hayden is just that team,” Brewer said. “I was concerned when we gave up so many runs in the first two innings, but I know my girls can come back. We came out hitting the ball, it was just right to people. So we went to the short game. I even had my big hitters bunting the ball. It threw Hayden off. They just didn’t expect it. I’ve been telling the girls all season, we have to execute the bunts when we need them. We work just as hard on our short game as we do on hitting in practice, if not harder. We put the bunts down and got the rally going. We are in it to win it. One game at a time. We want it bad.”
The Lady Miners will take on Miami on Friday, May10, at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix at 7:30 p.m. With a win, the Lady Miners will advance to the Championship game on Saturday against the winner between #1 seed North West Christian and #20 Phoenix Country Day School. The Championship game will be played at Rose Mofford Sports Complex at 5:30 p.m.
A special note- San Manuel is the only school in Division IV that has both their softball and baseball program in the State Semi – Finals…Good Luck Lady Miners!