Pitchers dominating as Superior returns to top of 1A rankings

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Superior Panthers

  The Superior baseball team reclaimed its position at the top of the 1A rankings thanks in part to a couple of superb pitching performances last week, including a combined no-hitter against Duncan last Tuesday.

  “Our pitchers have been throwing well, but what has been the key is our defense behind them,” Superior head coach Manuel Ortega told the Superior Sun. “We are making plays for our pitchers. When we do that it makes out pitchers relax and gives them confidence.”

  Senior Jesus Castellanos threw a two-hitter against visiting Valley Union on Friday, Mar. 29, in the Panthers’ 3 – 0 victory. Superior scored all its runs in the first inning and that was more than enough for Castellanos, who fanned 14 and issued only one walk in the complete-game shutout. He helped himself at the plate too, going 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI. Sophomore Joshua Marquez and junior Daniel McConnell were each 2-for-3 with an RBI apiece.

  Senior Kale Major and freshman Matthew Cruz combined to no-hit Duncan in the Panthers’ 13 – 0 road win on Apr. 2. The duo had 10 strikeouts and walked only two Wildkat batters.

Superior slugged five extra-base hits against Duncan, including a solo homerun by McConnell – his first of the season. Gabe Otero, Nathan Duarte, Cruz, and Castellanos each doubled in the game. Otero, Duarte, Cruz, and Castellanos each finished with two hits in the win. Cruz drove in a game-high four RBIs while Duarte and Otero had two RBIs each.

  Superior is now 7 – 0 in region games and a step closer to one of its season goals.

  “One of our goals is to win the region,” Ortega said. “That will help us head towards the right direction to achieve our main goal, which is bringing home the right trophy this time.”

Up next:  Apr. 12 at NFL Yet Academy (3 p.m.) and Apr. 16 vs. No. 4 Ray at 4 p.m.

Andy Luberda (1120 Posts)

Andrew Luberda began writing for Copper Area News Publishers (CANP) in February 2013 after working 15 years in Healthcare Financial Management. Andy covers sports for 11 high schools. His stories are published in Copper Basin News, San Manuel Miner and Superior Sun, in addition to the San Tan Valley Daily PRSS and CopperArea websites. Additionally, he has written human interest stories and business profiles. In May 2012, he earned an AAS in Sports Management at Central Arizona College before graduating with a BS in Communication from Arizona State University in 2014. He and his wife, Kelli, have three sons – AJ, Kyle, and Kade.


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