By Greg Perkins –
The Joseph City Lady Wildcats completed their first full week of the softball season with an overall record of 2-5, with both wins coming in the Gracie Haught Tournament held in Payson last weekend.
They played their first full game of the season last Wednesday on a road trip to Round Valley and came away with a hard fought, extra inning, 11-10 loss to the Lady Elks. Through the first three innings both teams hit the ball well and scored in each inning, with the Lady Elks holding a 9-6 edge after three. The Lady Cats pulled closer with two in the fourth, then forged ahead by one after scoring two runs in the top of the seventh. Round Valley forced an extra inning by scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh, then won the game with another run in the bottom of the eighth.
Both teams counted for several hits, with Joseph City collecting 16 and Round Valley pounding out 20. The Lady Cats made eight errors compared to just four from Round Valley, which may have been the difference in the final outcome.
Taylor Hill pitched all eight innings, giving up just five earned runs with three strikeouts and no walks. At the plate she helped her own cause, going two for five. Jacie Cochran was also two for five with a double and three RBIs. Lindsey Larson went one for four with a double and two RBIs. Sierra Johnstun went four for five with two singles and a double. Brianna Massey was four for five with a walk, two doubles and two RBIs.
Joseph City 312 202 00 10
R Valley 531 000 11 11
Playing in the Gracie Haught tournament on Friday, the Lady Wildcats faced three opponents in pool play. First up was Blue Ridge and Joseph City played well, picking up an 8-7, five-inning win. Johnstun went three for four with a single, a double, a triple and an RBI. Payton VanDyke was three for three, all singles. Massey went two for three with two singles and an RBI. Jacie Cochran was one for three with a single and an RBI.
Hill worked four innings, facing 24 batters. She gave up seven runs, six earned, with three strikeouts and one walk. Ivorie Cochran faced four batters in her only inning of work and gave up two hits.
Next up in pool play the Lady Wildcats took on Bradshaw Mountain and fell 8-7 under the international extra inning rules. Hill pitched the distance, facing 32 batters. She gave up eight runs, seven earned, on 14 hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
At the plate Ivorie Cochran went four for four with three singles, a double and an RBI. Larson went two for three with a pair of singles. Massey was two for three with two walks, a double, a home run and two RBIs. Jacie Cochran and Johnstun each went one for four.
Their final game of pool play was a 12-5 loss to Santa Cruz. The Lady Wildcats were led at the plate by Johnstun, Jacie Cochran and Massey, each with two hits. Hill went 1 for 3. In the circle Hill pitched two innings, facing 15 batters. She gave up five runs, four earned, on 10 hits with one strikeout and one walk. Ivorie Cochran worked three innings, giving up seven runs, five earned, on nine hits with two strikeouts and five walks.
In bracket play on Saturday morning, Joseph City faced Show Low and played well, but came up empty in a 2-0 loss. The Lady Cats managed just 5 hits against Show Low pitching with Johnstun, Hill, Jacie Cochran, Massey and Savannah Baer each collecting one. Hill again pitched the game, facing 28 batters in six innings. She pitched well, giving up just two runs, one earned, on 10 hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
That loss put them up against rival Mogollon in their next game. This time the Lady Wildcats came out on top, winning 4-2. Hill pitched all five innings giving up two earned runs on only seven hits with four strikeouts. At the plate she went one for three. Massey was three for three with two doubles, a single and an RBI. Johnstun went two for three with two singles. Baer and Larson each went one for three in the win.
In their final game of the tournament, Joseph City faced 4A Buckeye and came out on the wrong end of an 8-4 outcome. Hill pitched five innings, facing 25 batters. She gave up eight runs, seven earned, on 12 hits with no walks or strikeouts. At the plate Massey went two for three, as did Ivorie Cochran. Hill went two for four with two singles and a walk. Larson hit the ball well, going three for three with a walk, a single, a triple and three RBIs.
The Lady Wildcats have had this week off for spring break and will return to action on Tuesday, March 29, with a doubleheader at home against Ash Fork. On Thursday they will host Show Low, then on Saturday they will travel to St. Michael for another doubleheader.