State champs defeat Superior First Responders on foot, in field

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First Responders and the 1A State Softball Champs, the Lady Panthers, following a charity game.

  Last Saturday’s charity softball game, between the 1A State Champion Superior Pantherettes and the Superior Police and Fire Departments, proved two things after the champs’ 17 – 2 lopsided victory at the Superior Little League Field.

1. The Pantherettes can beat any opponent equally, including a roster of 20 to 40-something police officers and fire fighters.

2. Superior First Responders are far better at protecting and serving the local citizens and community than they are at playing softball.

  The Pantherettes took advantage of the First Responders throwing the ball all around the field, using their speed to plate many of their 17 runs. The Superior defense was stellar behind pitcher Kiki Arriola, as the First Responders scored only 2 runs during the 7-inning game.

  “I don’t think these guys knew what they were getting themselves into,” Superior head coach Martin Navarrette said afterwards.

Two First Responders in the outfield both try to catch a ball coming their way …

  The players appreciated the Police/Fire Department’s involvement in the charity event, which originated to assist in purchasing championship rings. A goal of $6,500 is needed to purchase the girls’ rings.

… whoops, guess they missed.

  Earning the bragging rights in town was an additional benefit.

  “It’s always fun getting to play other people,” senior-to-be Marisa Estatico told the Superior Sun. “Of course, we’re girls, so they got beat by a bunch of girls, but we’re state champs, so they were going to have a hard time.

  “We know how hard they work and they’ve been on a tight schedule lately, so we appreciate them coming out, taking the time to be a part of (this).”

  Despite the beatdown, the First Responders enjoyed participating.

  “It was so much fun,” said Chief of Police Christian Ensley. “It was such a cool idea and came to be more and more fun. (The girls) beat us badly, but it was fun.”

A First Responder gets a strike.

  Everyone around Superior appreciated the efforts of the players, coaches and the police/fire department last weekend. The town displays extraordinary pride in being the home of the state champions. In return, the players are grateful for the support.

Where’s the ball?

  “It’s good to get everybody together and bring opportunities in that will allow our team to get rings,” senior-to-be Lindsay Ketron said. “This was opportunity for our team to get more exposure and play bigger and better people.”

  Added Chief Ensley: “They’re the state champs and they should be proud. More importantly, they’re good kids and good athletes. Our town has a lot of energy, I believe more than any other town in Copper Country. People rally over an activity like this and they want to be a part of it.”

  Anyone who wishes to donate should contact Martin Navarrette for details at 928-701-7451.

Photos by Kelli Luberda

Andy Luberda (1036 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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