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Rams softball hits its way beyond futility
Written by George Werner   
Friday, 21 March 2014 08:46

With one week of preseason practice and no prior head coaching experience, it would perhaps be overly positive to call Morgan Thornburg’s first three games as head softball coach at Clarkdale-Jerome School a baptism by fire.

Eighth-grader Brittany Palmer begins her scramble to first base after hitting a ground ball during the Clarkdale-Jerome School’s 13-2 home loss March 6 to Big Park Community School.

Fortunately, Thornburg doesn’t mind being overly positive.

“I like softball. I’m having a good time,” she said. “I’ve helped out the team in the past. I just wanted to get out there and play again and teach the girls.”

After being run-ruled in their first three games 18-2, 13-2 and 15-5, the current hope for the Mingus Rams, traveling to the Oak Creek School on Thursday, March 20, may simply be to play a full game.

Certainly the focus there, Thornburg said, will be on hitting the ball — a quality lacking in Clarkdale’s first two games this season.

“We’ve had a slow start, losing to Camp Verde, Big Park and West Sedona,” Thornburg said following Clarkdale’s 15-5 four-inning loss to the West Sedona School Wildcats on Tuesday, March 18. “I’m hoping Thursday will be better.”

Middle school softball is often a training ground of experimentation that can yield unpredictable results, particularly from the inexperienced and underprepared. With games at Verde Valley Conference leaders Camp Verde Middle School and Big Park Community School behind her team, Thornburg — a former Mingus Union High School softball player along with assistant coaches Brianna Young and Susan Holm, Thornburg’s ex-Marauders coach — believes that such days are behind Clarkdale.

“The girls are learning a lot,” she said. “We only had a week of practice before our first game, so when I say the girls are improving every game, they really are.”

With 16 players continuing to stick on the roster through spring break — a large assemblage even for local high school teams — such high participation would bear that belief out, especially since, as Thornburg put it, “a handful have never played softball before.”

For the full story, please see the Wednesday, March 21, issue of the Cottonwood Journal Extra.


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