Coming off of a state championship game appearance a year ago, it is no wonder that Camp Verde High School’s softball team is off to a 3-0 start in official games this season.
After a 7-5 win over visiting Chino Valley High School on March 6, the Cowboys have outscored their opponents 39 to nine, but there is still room to grow, mostly in the finer details of the game.
“We’re looking to improve in our quality of game, as far as minimizing errors and getting better at bats,” Cowboys head coach Henry Smith said. “We’re struggling with our timely things, position stuff. We’ll get to it, we’re not far from there, but it’s something we need to fix.”
Against the Cougars, Camp Verde was cruising 7-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
One Chino Valley runner crossed home to make it 7-3 before freshman pitcher Jacy Finley stranded two with a strikeout.
Cowboys batters had a short sixth inning of their own, fitting a walk between two strikeouts before an inning-ending ground out.
Finley set the table for a 7-3 final score after striking out the first two Chino Valley hitters. But Cougars freshman third baseman Jacey Buchanan moved to second on a throwing error after reaching on an infield single.
Cougars junior pitcher Keigan Willingham hit an RBI double to plate Buchanan. The fifth was scored when sophomore shortstop Jadyn Clawson hit a pop fly that dropped in the outfield, but was caught on a attempt to reach second to end the game.
“I think we played pretty well other than the errors; we do have to work on that, giving up runs on errors,” senior shortstop Kayla Hackett said.
She continued on to acknowledge fatigue as a factor, but did not doubt that the team will make the adjustments.
Judging by the team’s lopsided scores so far, defense has been its best attribute, but Smith prefers to have more balance.
“Our defense is pretty solid ... I try to make a complete team so we don’t say we’re offensive heavy or defensive heavy,” Smith said. “I think that our goal is to try to bring it all up together. Right now it is, it’s pretty even, we hit pretty good and play pretty good defense, we just need to be a lot more aware of situation awareness stuff.”
The Cowboys won 15-3 at Scottsdale Christian Academy on Friday, March 10.
They hosted Bourgade Catholic High School on Tuesday, March 14, but results were unavailable at press time.
They next play in the Grace Lee Haught Memorial tournament at Payson High School starting Thursday, March 16.