Lady Miners rope Willcox; tie down Douglas to win Hayden Invitational Championship

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By Frank Smith

The San Manuel Lady Miners varsity softball team is on a roll after handling a win in Willcox in fine fashion and coming from behind against Douglas to win the Hayden Invitational Tournament.

The Lady Miners headed down to Willcox on March 25th and handed the Cowgirls a 10 – 5 loss.

In the circle for San Manuel was Lyana Waddell with Felicia Medina catching, Waddell faced 31 batters in seven innings, allowing five runs on four hits, collected eight strikeouts, and walked four batters.

At the plate for the Lady Miners, Mireya Tamayo went 2 for 5 with two singles, and two RBIs; Alyssa Cuellar went 2 for 5 with singles, 2 RBIs; Felicia Medina went 4 for 5 with singles, a double, a homerun, and three RBIs;

Mackenzie Vindiola went 2 for 4 with a double, a homerun, three RBIs, and a stolen base; Angelica Zuniga went 1 for 3 with a single, and a sacrifice; Felicia Gomez went 2 for 3 with two singles, and a stolen base; and Lyana Waddell went 1 for 3 with a double, and a stolen base.

“We are hitting the ball well,” said Head Coach Deanne Brewer. “The areas we struggle are defensively – we are not as aggressive as I would like to see on the fly balls, especially on the bloopers, and our pitchers need to limit the walks. But I see big differences.  We are definitely coming around.  I expect a lot from these girls. I know they can be state competitors.”

The Lady Miners then took part in the Hayden Invitational Tournament at Hayden High School on March 29th and faced the Willcox Cowgirls for the second time in four days with the Lady Miners roping the Cowgirls 11 – 1 for the win.

In the circle was, Waddell with Medina catching, Waddell faced 20 batters in five innings, allowing one run on four hits, collecting three strikeouts, and walked no batters.

At the plate, Tamayo went 2 for 2 with two singles, three RBIs, and a stolen base;

Cuellar went 3 for 4 with three singles, and three RBIs; Medina went 3 for 4 with three singles, a double, and one RBI; Vindiola went 1 for 4 with a single, and two RBIs; Waddell went 2 for 3 with two singles, and two RBIs; and McBride went 1 for 2 with a single, and a stolen base.

In the second game of the tournament, San Manuel took on the Douglas Lady Bulldogs and took the loss 15 – 5.

In the circle was Waddell with Medina catching, Waddell faced 40 batters in seven innings, allowing 13 hits, collected three strikeouts, and walked three batters. Defensively the Lady Miners committed nine errors.

At the plate, Tamayo went 2 for 3 with two singles; Cuellar went 1 for 4 with a single; Medina went 3 for 4 with a single, two doubles, and an RBI; Zuniga went 1 for 3 with a single, and two RBIs; Gomez went 1 for 3 with a single; and McBride went 1 for 3 with a double.

Coach Brewer said, “We got rattled and started throwing the ball around.  Douglas is a good hitting team, but we just overplayed, tried to force outs.  It was ugly.  But I knew at the end of the game, we would face the Bulldogs in the Championship.”

On Mar. 30, the Lady Miners faced off against the Safford Lady Bulldogs in the third game of the tournament and dropped Safford 15 – 3. 

In the circle was Nicole Encinas with McBride catching, Encinas faced 25 batters in five innings, allowing five hits, collected one strikeout and walked two batters .  Defensively, the Lady Miners had five errors.

At the plate, Tamayo went 4 for 4 with four singles; Gomez went 1 for 3 with a triple, and three RBIs; Cuellar went 3 for 3 with a double, a triple, a Homerun, and six RBIs; Medina went 1 for 3 a double, and one RBI; Vindiola went 3 for 4 with three singles; Zuniga went 3 for 4 with a single, a double, a triple, and four RBIs; McBride went 1 for 4 with a single; and Vargas went 2 for 3 with two singles.

Coach Brewer said, “We had 18 hits… we really put on a hitting display.  This was a fun game.  It really gave the girls confidence at the plate.”

In the fourth game of the tournament for the Lady Miners, San Manuel faced off against the Lady Eagles from Thatcher and got the 11 – 0 win.

In the circle was Waddell with Medina catching, Waddell faced 27 batters in six innings, allowing four hits, three walks and collected seven strikeouts.  Defensively, the Lady Miners had one error.

At the plate, Tamayo went 2 for 5 with two singles, and one RBI; Cuellar went 1 for 3 with a single; Medina went 4 for 4 with a single, two doubles, a home run, and five RBIs; Zuniga went 1 for 3with a single, and four RBIs; and Waddell went 1 for 3 with a single.

Coach Brewer said, “This game was Waddell›s first shut out on the season.  She did a great job and the defense played well to preserve her shut out.”

San Manuel moved in to the semi-final game against Hayden in the fifth game of the tournament and shut down the Lady Lobos 7 – 4.

In the circle was Encinas with McBride catching, Encinas faced 35 batters allowing four runs on nine hits, collected three strikeouts, and walked four batters.

At the plate, Gomez went 1 for 3 with a single; Cuellar went 1 for 3 with a home run, and one RBI; Medina went 2 for 3 with a single, a home run, and one RBI; Zuniga went 1 for 2 with a home run, and three RBIs; and Waddell went 1 for 3 with a double, and one RBI.

Coach Brewer said, “Hayden is a big hitting team.  This is the fourth time we have seen them this season.  We made the choice to start Encinas who the Lobos had only seen once in our scrimmage.  Hayden had nine hits, but they were scattered.  Defensively, we had one error.  Nicole hit her spots, allowing defense to do their job.  This was a sweet revenge after being ten run-ruled in the last game we played against them. 

We had less hits, but three of them were homeruns…Cuellar and Medina hit solos and Zuniga hit one with Vindiola on base by a walk.  Hayden committed two costly errors in the sixth inning – the only two they had in the game.  Miners left only one runner on in the game, it was a good game.”

With the close win over the Lady Lobos, the Lady Miners advanced to the Championship game against the Lady Bulldogs from Douglas. Douglas had defeated San Manuel 15 – 5 earlier in the tournament – so the Lady Miners knew they were in for a battle and what a battle it was.

The Lady Miners were down 5 – 10 entering the bottom of the seventh inning; McBride led the inning with a double, followed by Vargas› single.  Tamayo struck out and Gomez grounded out to second base scoring McBride.  Cuellar drew a walk.  With Vargas at third base and Cuellar at first base, Medina came to the plate and ripped a homerun to left center over a cottonwood tree, bringing the score 9 – 10 with the Lady Bulldogs still in the lead.  Vindiola came to the plate and hit a shot to shortstop who threw the ball to first base for the third out, but the first baseman dropped the ball.  Zuniga came to the plate and singled to the outfield, sending Vindiola over to third base, and Zuniga went to second base when the throw was made unsuccessfully to third base.  Waddell came to the plate with a one ball – one strike count and drove a double to left scoring both Vindiola and Zuniga to win the game 11 – 10.

Coach Brewer said, “It was awesome.  I was so proud that my team did not give up. They rallied and did it. What an awesome ending to the tournament.”

In the circle was Encinas with McBride catching, Encinas faced 16 batters in two and a half innings – allowing eight runs on six hits, walked two batters, and collected two strikeouts.

Coming in to relive was Waddell with McBride catching, Waddell faced 22 batters in four and a half innings, allowing two runs on three hits, walked four batters, and collected two strikeouts. Defensively, the Lady Miners had seven errors.

At the plate, Tamayo went 2 for 3 with two singles, and two walks; Cuellar went 1 for 3 with a single, and a hit by pitch with a walk; Medina went 2 for 5 with a double, a home run, and five RBIs; Vindiola went 1 for 5 with a single; Zuniga went 3 for 5 with singles, two RBIs, and a stolen base; Waddell went 1 for 4 with a double, and two RBIs; McBride went 1 for 2 with a double; and Vargas went 1 for 4 with a single.

The Lady Miners will travel to Miami on Thursday to take on the Lady Vandals with the varsity playing at 4pm. San Manuel will be back home on Friday to host the Lady Tigers from Globe, the varsity will play at 2pm with the JV playing at 4 p.m.

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