The Camp Verde High School softball team, No. 7 in Conference 2A, suffered an 8-5 Central Region loss at home to No. 11 Paradise Honors High School on Tuesday, April 4.
The Cowboys [9-2, 3-1 Central] bounced back with consecutive wins to round out the week: A 13-0 regional rout against Northland Preparatory Academy on Thursday, April 6 and a 15-6 win at Chino Valley High School on Saturday, April 8.
“They [Paradise Honors] are a good team,” Camp Verde head coach Henry Smith said. “We came out and played a pretty good game. We held the game the whole time, but we kind of fell off.”
The Panthers hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to win the game. One batter reached on an error and the third managed a bunt single to load the bases.
To that point, freshman pitcher Jacy Finley had 10 strikeouts, but was susceptible to the long ball. The decisive home run was the second she had given up that game.
Finley was hit by a pitch to leadoff the bottom of the seventh and senior Tiauna Day singled immediately after, but two strikeouts and a pop out sentenced the game.
Camp Verde was leading 4-0 until giving up the first Paradise Honors run in the fifth inning. It totaled four errors in the game, all precluding Panther scores.
Three consecutive errors opened the door for the visitors, helping them to cut the game to a 5-4 deficit in the sixth.
“Mentally we came in not focused, not prepared,” Smith said. “Everyone loses sometimes.”
Finley and the Cowboy defense held Paradise Honors in check for the majority of the game, retiring the first 12 batters that included six straight strikeouts to open the game.
“Jacy pitched a good game and we had a ton of good plays,” Smith said. “They did exactly what they’re supposed to do. They took advantage of our errors.”
After the loss, Camp Verde rebounded with the five-inning win at Northland Prep. It jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the third inning and used a six-run fourth to put the game away.
Against Chino Valley the Cowboys went up 2-0, but the Cougars immediately tied. Camp Verde scored in every inning and totaled 19 hits, including 10 for extra bases.
Senior Kayla Hackett led the charge offensively, finishing the game with a three for four effort, two runs scored, two RBI and a solo home run.
Finley struck out 19 batters during the three-game stretch and has 108 on the season.
“We had a big week. We had one of the best practices of the season,” Smith said. “Now that we know where everyone is playing, they’re getting better every day and every practice.”