Superior again: Panthers claim second State Championship in four years

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

Our CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM!! Superior wins state softball championship. Photo by Kelli Luberda

  The Superior softball team defeated third-seeded Bagdad, 13 – 7, at Arizona State’s Farrington Stadium on Monday night to win the 2018 1A Softball State Championship. It was the Panthers’ second state title in the last four years. They last won it in 2015, making this year’s seniors two-time state champions.

  After a scoreless first inning, the No. 1-seed Panthers used a combination of powerful hitting, speed and aggressive baserunning in the bottom of the second to take a commanding 7 – 0 lead early.

  “We had to,” Superior head coach Martin Navarrette said afterwards about his team’s need to be aggressive. “We knew they could score runs, we knew they could swing the bat. We knew we had to score first to put the pressure on them and that’s exactly what we did.”

  Indeed, the Panthers did, and it all started after two outs.

  Lindsay Ketron doubled to start the rally and the next six hitters all reached and eventually came around to score. Analysse Jaurez, McKenna Duarte, Anisah Cardenas, Kiki Arriola, and Marisa Estatico all had RBI hits in the inning. The biggest was Estatico’s two-run triple, which was one of two triples she hit in the game.

  With Arriola, the best pitcher in the conference, in the circle, a 7 – 0 lead would seemingly mean game over, but the Sultans showed some fight, answering the Panthers’ big inning with two runs in the third. The Panthers continued their offensive onslaught, scoring four more in the third and another in the fourth. They held a 12 – 2 lead entering the fifth, needing three outs to clinch the championship.

  Not so fast, however.

  Bagdad benefitted from Arriola’s temporary inability to command the strike zone and it was able to take advantage, rallying for four runs to at least put the Panthers’ celebration on hold.

  “I think it was her adrenaline, she was pumped,” Navarrette said about his ace. “My hat’s off to Bagdad, they swung the bats and scored the big runs when it need them.

  “Kiki’s a senior, so she calmed down and did what she needed to.”

Anisah Cardenas rounds third base during the second inning of Monday night’s state championship game.

  The Panthers’ defense helped pick up Arriola, who issued an uncharacteristic four walks in the fifth.

  “My defense was behind me,” Arriola said. “I’m so grateful for the team(mates) that I have.”

  It didn’t take long for Arriola to get back on track in the circle, but first she continued her perfect night (4-for-4) at the plate, blasting a homerun over the wall in left field.

  The solo dinger was a dream come true, literally.

  “I actually had a dream that I hit it out at ASU Stadium and it happened today,” she told reporters after the game. “It’s way better than the dream, way better.”

Lindsay Ketron safely slides across home plate with the game’s first run.

  The adrenaline was certainly pumping again inside the circle in the sixth, but this time it yielded far different results as Arriola fanned the side.

  After a perfect game against St. Michael in the state quarterfinals, Arriola gave a “no comment” when asked about her performance in that game. There were bigger innings ahead.

  “I didn’t want to get ahead of myself,” she explained. “I wanted to stay humble about what I’ve been doing.”

  Bagdad added a run in the seventh, but it was just for cosmetics. Superior started fast and never really was in danger of blowing a 10-run lead.

  “Now that we’ve finally pulled it off it feels so much better,” said Arriola, a Glendale Community College commit.

  “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but we deserve it,” she added. “We worked hard for this. It’s so amazing. I can’t even explain the emotions going through my head right now.”

  No doubt, Arriola is not the only Panthers’ player feeling the same emotions.

Superior is Title Town once again.

Lindsay Ketron rounds third on her way to the plate.

Andy Luberda (1083 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.


Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
Facebooktwitterby feather

Comments are closed.

  • Additional Stories

    Sun Life Family Health Center Oracle Open House & Health Fair on January 19th

    10 hours ago
    by

    Oracle, AZ – Sun Life Family Health Center is hosting an Open House and Health Fair on Saturday January 19th […]


    Community College Board vacancy announced for district 5

    January 3rd, 2019
    by

      The Pinal County Community College Board has a vacancy.  The vacancy is created due to the resignation of Governing […]


    Grants from ADEQ help Town of Superior with clean ups

    January 3rd, 2019
    by

      The Town of Superior along with their partners Rebuild Superior and the Superior Chamber of Commerce have maintained a […]


    Mountain Vista kids learn it’s not just rocket science

    January 3rd, 2019
    by

      Mountain Vista students have been firing off rockets this past week.   On Monday, one rocket was launched and […]


  • Additional Stories

    Mammoth Police Department shares Christmas cheer

    January 3rd, 2019
    by

      The Mammoth Police Department shared some Christmas spirit with two families this year. The department adopted two families who […]


    A worthy New Year’s resolution: Advocate for an abused or neglected child

    January 3rd, 2019
    by

    FLORENCE, AZ – New Year’s resolutions typically focus on self-improvement: lose weight, stop smoking, exercise more often. This year, why not resolve […]


    Second Friday kicks off fourth year of consecutive events with Miracle on Main Street

    December 26th, 2018
    by

      This year the Superior Optimist Club decided to host Miracle on Main Street in conjunction with the Second Friday […]


    Mayor’s Minute: Time to Ring in a New Year and New Opportunities

    December 26th, 2018
    by

    Where did the 52 weeks of 2018 go?  Seems like the years move faster and faster with each passing day.  […]


  • Copperarea

  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • [Advertisement.]
  • Southeast Valley Ledger