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??After suffering their first loss of the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament on Friday, July 2, the Camp Verde All-Stars [ages 10 to 11] took care of business Saturday, July 3, defeating the Verde Valley All-Stars in game two of the championship series, 19-5.

The Camp Verde All-Stars, ages 10 to 11, gather to take a photo after claiming the District 10 championship after defeating the Verde Valley All-Stars on Saturday, July 3, 19-5. Camp Verde finished the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament with a 4-1 record.Heading into the tournament championship with a 4-0 record, Verde Valley found a way to get to Camp Verde and beat them 11-4 in front of a good home crowd at Butler Park in Camp Verde.

Camp Verde wouldn’t go quietly, however, in the tournament’s final day.

“This is what you play for, one game for it all,” Camp Verde skipper Nate Jackson said.

Saturday’s starting pitcher Ezequiel Casillas was above average, pitching four innings while allowing five runs on eight hits, walking only one and striking out four.

If his 76 pitches weren’t nerve-racking enough, the offense for Camp Verde certainly was as the boys collected only seven hits but worked 11 walks.

“The kid just couldn’t find the strike zone and our boys were patient enough to get the job done,” Jackson said.
Coming up big for Camp Verde was catcher John Castillo who was 2-2 with two walks and three RBIs.

Castillo scored two runs as well and was smack dab in the middle of the 11-run rally Camp Verde put on Verde Valley in the bottom of the third inning.

Camp Verde found itself down 2-0 after the top of the first but in the bottom of the second the offense kicked in for eight runs to take an 8-2 lead.

After Verde Valley scored three in the top of the third to make it an 8-5 affair, Camp Verde put the nail in the coffin with 11 runs in the bottom half of the inning to make it a 19-5 final.

Shortstop Beau Bullard had a solid day at the dish as well, going 2-2 with a walk, a triple, three runs scored and two RBIs.

The District 10 champions will enjoy their title with a few weeks of practice in an effort to get ready for the Arizona Little League All-Star State Tournament which is scheduled to begin Monday, July 19, in Paradise Valley.

Camp Verde will face the District 13 champion at 5:30 p.m.

The Camp Verde Minors All-Stars [ages 9 to 10] managed to get only one win during the District 10 Little League Tournament this past week, defeating the Williams All-Stars, 12-2.

Connor Collins delivers a pitch to a Prescott Valley All-Star on  June 28 during the District 10 Little League All-Star Tournament at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood. Collins helped his team go 1-2 during the tournament, getting an exciting win against the Williams All-Stars, 12-2.The sweet taste of victory over Williams at Riverfront Park in Cottonwood on June 29 lasted only one day, as Camp Verde came up short June 30, losing to the Prescott Valley All-Stars, 8-7.

Against Williams, Rafael Zapata toed the mound and was fantastic, pitching a complete game, going four innings while allowing only two runs on one hit while walking two and striking out five.

The offense was just as good for Camp Verde, collecting 13 hits including a 3-3 day with two walks and two RBIs for Ernesto Casillas while Connor Collins was 3-3 with a triple and two RBIs.

“I thought we hit the ball well against Williams. The kids had a lot of fun that game,” skipper Steve Mahan said.

Other standouts included Zachary Wester who was 1-2 with a triple and two walks with two runs scored while Dominic Bruno was 2-3 with a run scored.

Against Prescott Valley on Wednesday, Bruno was handed the ball and was average on the mound, allowing five runs in four innings pitched as Prescott Valley collected five hits and worked one walk.

Collins and Casillas were each 2-3 at the plate on the day but Prescott Valley’s defense sniffed out every late rally by Camp Verde and found a way to stomp it out quickly.

Camp Verde managed to get out to a 6-0 lead in the top of the first inning against Prescott Valley and was ahead 7-5 going into the bottom of the sixth inning but Prescott Valley collected a few base hits and scored three runs to win it, 8-7.

“That was a tough game for us to lose; we were ahead for most of the game and they came back right at the end,” Mahan said.

Having lost six seniors to graduation a few weeks ago, the Camp Verde High School boys basketball team will have no trouble moving into the 2010-2011 season, with the core group returning to play a little basketball this summer.

Freshman Mitch Latham looks to shoot during the Sedona Summer League on June 8.“Summer is important to see what guys you have for next season and to get a look at a few freshmen coming in as eighth-graders,” Camp Verde Head Coach Darren Gagnon said.

Junior Brian Hudson looks to drive past his defender on the way to the basket June 8 at the Sedona Summer LeagueThis summer the Cowboys will miss point guard Mike Boler, who graduated in May, but Camp Verde has more than enough to make up for his absence on the court this summer.

Camp Verde Head Coach Darren Gagnon talks strategy with his team during a summer league game at Sedona Red Rock High SchoolSeniors Shaquille Watahomigie and Trey Cooper should be outstanding players for the Cowboys this summer and on into the winter when the season begins in November.

The two standout players will be the center of attention for any opposing coach this summer and the dynamic duo could be one of the best to come through the Cowboys’ system in years.

Watahomigie and Cooper could average in the high teens in points per game this summer, and maybe even more next season.

Junior Jake Spleiss is the third wheel in the “big three” for the Cowboys, bringing a decent defensive body, which has the ability to guard multiple opponents, big and small.

Spleiss has worked hard on his jumper in the offseason according to a recent interview and will look to improve his all-around game as he enters his junior year.

Also add to the mix juniors Johnny and Brian Hudson to go along with senior Kyle Niederer and the Cowboys are looking like a strong team.

With the pure scoring ability of Watahomigie and Cooper and pure hustle, effort and rebounds from Spleiss, the 2010-2011 season is sure to be a good one for the Cowboys and fans can get a sneak peek of their favorite team during the month of June.

The junior varsity boys will get a chance to play on Wednesday nights during June against local teams like Mingus Union High School and Chino Valley High School, but the real fun will be at Sedona Red Rock High School on Tuesdays

where the Cowboys play in the Sedona Summer League.

To wrap up the summer, the Cowboys are scheduled to play in the Northern Arizona University team camp Friday, June 18, through Sunday,  June 20.

Going with young players for the most part is not easy but when the Camp Verde High School girls basketball team finished 18-10 during the 2009-2010 season while starting three freshmen and a sophomore, it certainly seemed easy.

Camp Verde girls basketball Head Coach Mark Showers gives instruction to Mayra Perez, left, and other Camp Verde High School girls basketball players regarding what it’s going to be like with a defensive player in their face this summer. The Cowboys are looking to build off an 18-10 season in 2009-2010.Cowboys Head Coach Mark Showers enters June with a great building block for success from last season despite

losing to St. Johns High School in the first round of the 2A conference state tournament in February.

Having lost only two seniors to graduation a few weeks ago, Showers is excited to see what his young cagers can do this offseason.

Taylor Phillips, Viv Lucero and Shayna Sterrett are the only three seniors that will be taking the court this offseason but the real focus is on a young core group that played beyond their years for the Cowboys last season.

Junior Lila Hickey is certainly the centerpiece in Showers’ program at the moment, but sophomore guards Amanda Showers and Donnie Buss aren’t half bad either.

“We’ve got the makings of a really good team and this summer is going to help us out tremendously,” Showers said.

Juniors Tori Mathews and Marissa Simons are part of the group that have big expectations for the 2010-2011 season.

On Mondays this summer, Camp Verde plays in a rotating league with Coconino High School, Mingus Union High School, Sedona Red Rock High School and Bradshaw Mountain High School.

Sophomore Amanda Showers catches and shoots during practice June 2 at Camp Verde High  School. Showers is expected to be one of two starting sophomore guards  this coming winter for the Cowboys.Last week, Camp Verde hosted the league while Monday, June 7, all the teams were in Flagstaff.

On Monday, June 14, all the aforementioned high schools will be in Sedona.

“I think everyone really likes this rotating league. It gives everyone a chance to be at home; the home teams are responsible for paying referees and scoreboard operators,” Showers said.

To go along with the Monday league night, Camp Verde is scheduled to play in the Valley Christian Tournament on Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19.

The Cowboys will wrap up the summer with a trip to the Point Loma Tournament on Friday, June 25, which runs through Sunday, June 27.

“We spent the whole first year showing them the basics and now that we’re entering their second year, we can refine our system. The girls are far ahead of where they were last year at this point,” Showers said.

When the day finally came that Camp Verde High School senior Mike Boler was able to walk across the stage, shake hands with his teachers and accept his diploma, instead of thinking about the future, Boler reminisced about the past.

Senior Mike Boler poses for a shot during graduation. Boler made the honor roll this year with a 3.2 GPA and is looking to continue his education in the fall. “It was a great feeling to finally get something I’ve worked hard for, but all I could do was think about the past and how much fun high school was,” Boler said.

Camp Verde football Head Coach Luke Steege shared a fun story about his first memory of Boler when he recalled the first time they went to Blue Ridge High School to play a football game.

“We stayed Thursday night in a hotel because we played Friday and the boys started a Madden tournament, so of course, I had to play in the Madden tournament,” Steege said.

Steege went on to say Boler picked the Dallas Cowboys as his team in the tournament, his favorite team in the NFL, and of course, Steege picked the Arizona Cardinals.

“I hate the Cowboys,” Steege said laughing. “He ended up beating me, and to this day he’s never let me forget it.”

Boler grew up in Camp Verde and found himself admiring Brett Favre, a gunslinger quarterback who played for the Green Bay Packers over 1,800 miles away from his hometown.

Favre, along with Zach Houser, Camp Verde’s senior quarterback when Boler was a freshman, are the biggest reasons why Boler wore No. 4 throughout his high school career in football and baseball.

Boler was a four-year varsity letterman in baseball, starting at shortstop all four seasons and lettering three years in football.

Boler also played varsity basketball his freshman season, then returned to the court this past season to play out his senior year.

“At the time I was looking at shoring up my baseball skills so basketball went on hold I guess,” Boler said.

The move worked for baseball as he was the unanimous choice to be the 2A Metro 1 MVP this past season and was a first team All-State selection this spring.

Despite his many athletic accomplishments at Camp Verde, including being responsible for 1,000 total yards of offense and 10 touchdowns the first five games of the football season in the fall before breaking his arm, Boler is even more proud of something else.

During his senior year academically, Boler recorded a 3.2 GPA and made the honor roll, something he won’t soon forget.

The 19-year-old high school graduate is planning on pursuing a college degree, hopefully a two-year associate’s degree at Southwestern College, a small private school in Phoenix where he might get a chance to play baseball.

He has other options, but according to Boler, the new coach at Southwestern is interested in him playing for them.

In the meantime, Boler will be a part of the Wildland Fireman group this summer, which is something he wouldn’t mind doing when he gets older.

“I knew a few guys on the engine, I took a few classes and I’m ready to go to work this summer. It’s something I would like doing as a career,” Boler said.

Knowing Boler, Steege said if there was ever something you needed done, Boler is the guy you go to, and he spoke of trust.

“If you needed something done, he would get it done, and you don’t have to worry about him ever. That says a lot about him,” Steege said.

Boler has done well for himself so far and with his parents Mike Sr. and Colleen behind him and his older sister Morgan and his younger sister Shelby by his side, there isn’t anything this young man can’t accomplish.

After beating Valley Christian Academy [3-1] in a thrilling 2A conference state semifinal game Friday, May 14, the Camp Verde High School baseball team was unable to keep the Cinderella slipper on and lost to Bourgade Catholic High School, 6-5.

CV_baseball_5-19_Hawk_10The state championship game Saturday, May 15, at Peoria Sports Complex was filled with drama but Bourgade Catholic’s Eric Martinez, a big left-handed hurler who pitched the last three innings to earn a win, took all the fun out of if for the Cowboys, striking out five of the final nine outs to get his team a title.

“We didn’t have a dominating player. That big kid they had, he was pretty good; he hit and he pitched. He was a force. We have a bunch of good kids but not a dominating player and it made the difference,” first-year Camp Verde Head Coach Steve Hicks said.

Martinez certainly made the difference in the state championship game as the Cowboys couldn’t seem to catch up to his fastball.

To start the game, Bourgade Catholic was able to put up three runs on the board in the top of the second inning, chasing Cowboys starting pitcher Tanner Rezzonico from the game after only 1? innings pitched.

Hicks brought in senior Mike Boler who started three double plays in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings of the 3-1 win over Valley Christian the day before from shortstop.

Boler pitched the seventh to earn the save against Valley Christian after Curtis Hawk was outstanding, going six innings and allowing only one run.

In Saturday’s game, however, Boler was being asked to go more than just one inning and wound up doing a decent job.

“We were hoping Tanner [Rezzonico] was going to give us a little more but Mike [Boler] did a great job. We knew this was a good hitting team. I didn’t want to bring in Mike this early,” Hicks said.

At the plate, Camp Verde managed 10 hits on Bourgade Catholic pitching, but only one against the lefty Martinez in the last three innings.

“We had to fight through it. We did our best. That’s pretty much it,” sophomore catcher Andy Minner said after the game.

In the bottom of the second inning before Martinez entered the game on the mound, Hawk hit a towering home run into the left field bullpen to make it a 3-1 game, proving to everyone in the other dugout Camp Verde wasn’t going away.

Bourgade Catholic made it 5-2 in the top of the third but the Cowboys rallied for three more in the bottom of the third to tie it, 5-5.

CV_baseball_5-19_Minner_2Taylor Matthews and Aaron Stutzman singled, putting runners on for Minner who singled to bring in Matthews. A few errors later, it was tied 5-5.

Matthews and Stutzman were a combined 5-8 on the day at the plate while the rest of the team was 5-22.

In the top of the fifth, sophomore center fielder Cody Rayburn had a bead on a line drive to the gap, caught the ball at first, but then dropped it to allow Bourgade Catholic to put a runner on third with no outs.

The next batter for the Golden Eagles grounded out to second, scoring the run to take a 6-5 lead, which wound up being the final.

“We did everything possible to win, but we came up short. We had high expectations but we never thought we would be here. It was a privilege,” Boler said.

CV_baseball_5-19_Hawk_1Over the next few days, the 21-9 Cowboys will look back at this season and be disappointed in the outcome but over time, they will be proud of what they accomplished.

When asked if his team actually thought they would get to the 2A state title game when they started practice three-plus months ago, Hicks had an interesting answer.

“Well, I think it’s always the goal; there are always variables to get here. You always come up against good teams. We beat good teams all year long, we’ve grown, we’ve become better players, better people, more mature and we’re growing ... that’s why we’re here,” Hicks said.

“We knew we could beat any team, but there’s a lot of good teams. When you get to the playoffs any team can win it,” he continued.

“Any team” almost did.

Despite all speculation and the naysayers out there telling everyone the Camp Verde High School baseball team doesn’t deserve a No. 4 seed, isn’t really that good, and shouldn’t have gotten a first-round bye in the 2A conference state playoffs, the Cowboys didn’t listen and have now silenced the critics.

RezzonicoThe No. 4 Cowboys easily defeated Williams High School on Friday,

May 7, 19-6, then dismantled Northwest Christian Academy in the quarterfinals by the final score of 11-1.

These two wins are two of the biggest in Cowboys baseball history and the offensive attack has punched Camp Verde’s ticket to the 2A final four, which is scheduled to begin Friday, May 14, at the Peoria Sports Complex.

They won’t be playing on one of the side fields though, as these Cowboys have earned the right to make it to the show, one might say, playing in the big stadium at 7 p.m., May 14.

“We played two great games and our pitching was good, too. We’re all excited to play down there this weekend,” first-year Camp Verde Head Coach Steve Hicks said.

In the Northwest Christian game, Curtis Hawk took the ball for the Cowboys and was fantastic, pitching six innings of one-run baseball while allowing six hits and striking out two.

The offense came alive in the first two innings to take a 5-1 lead but in the bottom of the fourth scored five more runs to make it a 10-1 affair.

Camp Verde tallied one more run in the bottom of the sixth to 10-run rule Northwest Christian and send themselves to the final four.

Mike Boler was 2-3 with an RBI and three runs scored while Taylor Matthews was the big hitter on the day, going 3-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.

The Cowboy offense had 16 hits against Northwest Christian, keeping the bases busy all morning long.

Randy Justice was 2-3 with an RBI while Hawk was 2-4 with an RBI. Tanner Rezzonico also pitched in, going 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

The 20-8 Cowboys will now turn their attentions to No. 8 Valley Christian Academy, a baseball powerhouse the last few years in the 2A conference.

Camp Verde will face off against the Trojans on Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex with a first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.

In the other semifinal game, defending state champion Pusch Ridge High School will take on  

No. 6 Bourgade Catholic at 3:30 p.m. at the stadium.

If the Cowboys can get past the Trojans, Camp Verde will play for a 2A state title on Saturday, May 15, in the stadium.

First pitch for the championship game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

With the spring sports season over, parents and athletes are getting a chance to attend banquets and get a round of applause for their efforts on the field this season.

There were 23 student-athletes at Camp Verde High School this spring who received All-Region and All-State awards.

In baseball, the 2A Metro champion Cowboys made it all the way to the 2A conference finals this season but it wasn’t without the help of a few players who had great seasons.

senior mike boler celebrates after his team beat Valley Christian Academy in the 2A conference state semifinals May 14. Boler was selected as a first-team All-Region performer as well as an All-State selectee.Mike Boler, Curtis Hawk, Taylor Mathews, Aaron Stutzman and Andy Minner were selected to receive a first team All-Region award for the 2A Metro 1.

Randy Justus was handed an honorable mention award.

Boler and Hawk were also nominated for the Arizona Baseball Coaches Association All-State team and Boler will play in the North-South 1A-2A All-Star game Saturday, May 29.

In softball, Roque Parker, Cami Ligon, Shelby Mulcaire, Alexis Kinney and Amy Allen were selected first team All-Region performers while Shayna Sterrett and Megan Teague were awarded honorable mention.

The Cowboys were 2A Metro region champs this season.

In track and field, Deborah Truncali, Emily Showers, Cassie Alvarez and Jessica Reay are first team All-Region award winners for their 4x800-meter performance at the 2A Metro region invitational, taking first overall.

Making second team All-Region are Trent Fogelson, Marissa Simons, Katie Wilson and Jessica Melendez.

Receiving honorable mention All-State awards are Amanda Showers and Fogelson.

The 4x800 team getting the region award was also named to the second team All-State for finishing second in the event at Arizona State University two weekends ago.

In golf, there is no first, second nor honorable mention awards but the top 10 in the region meet get a medal, qualifying sophomore Wilfred Tewawina, who took ninth overall.

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