Photo by Beau Bearden.
KINGMAN – Sometimes a simple change of mindset can help a team for the better. The Kingman Academy High School softball team can vouch for that belief after it defeated Lake Havasu 4-2 Saturday afternoon to win the Coca-Cola Invitational at Centennial Park.
Softball: Coca-Cola Invitational - March 16-17, 2018
The Kingman Academy High School softball team won the 2018 Coca-Cola Invitational Saturday, while Lee Williams took third. Kingman High was eliminated in the first round by the Lady Vols. Photos by Beau Bearden.
“We have this new mindset coming in – ‘one task, one focus,’” said Kingman Academy’s Jessica Plew. “So we’re all really invested in that and really focusing on what we can do as players.”
Plew showed just how much it helped her in the circle as she yielded no earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and one walk in seven innings of work. That success was a big difference-maker after the Lady Knights dealt Academy back-to-back losses on March 9 and 14.
“Lake Havasu is a good team,” said Lady Tigers head coach Tim Pena. “We’ve faced some good pitchers over the weekend, but the girl from Lake Havasu has owned us. When you get two strikes, you just have to battle. Put the ball in play and make things happen. That’s what we did.”
Lake Havasu’s pitcher Savannah Senica did make it difficult for the Academy early on, but the Lady Tigers made their adjustments at the plate.
Cassidy Hobbs did so when it mattered the most as the junior catcher went 2-for-3 with a team-high three RBIs. Hobbs’ biggest hit came in the top of the fifth when she roped a double to centerfield that scored Chloe Elliott and Tori Salem.
The two seniors tallied the eventual game-winning runs and Hobbs knew how much the victory meant for her teammates.
“This win is so big for our team because it’s mostly seniors,” she said. “It’s good for them to go out with a bang.”
The seven Lady Tigers seniors had waited for this day after finishing in second the last two years. Pena was glad to see the team rewarded for their hard work.
“I’m so proud of the way that they handled themselves – they kept their composure,” Pena said. “Hopefully we can continue this, just work hard and continue to work on our mental game.”
Academy (3-4) has the opportunity to keep it going Monday in its 2A West Region opener at Southside Park against Antelope (7-2, 1-2).
The Lee Williams High School softball team narrowly fell short of playing in the championship game after Lake Havasu hit a walk-off homer to defeat the Lady Vols 11-9.
That loss didn’t stop Lee Williams from showing off its firepower at the plate against Apollo in an 18-8 blowout to take third.
“They came back together and we literally just drove the ball where we needed to,” said Lady Vols head coach Melody Van Zandt.
While a third-place finish wasn’t what Lee Williams had planned for, Van Zandt looked at the overall picture of how far the team has progressed after a sluggish start.
“They all played well together and we stayed positive the whole time,” Van Zandt said of the tournament. “That’s all I can ask for. These girls are a whole different team than they had been. I’m very proud of them.”
Lake Havasu 10, Chinle 2
Lee Williams 6, Kingman 3
Apollo 22, Yuma Catholic 14
Kingman Academy 15, Sierra Linda 0
Lake Havasu 11, Lee Williams 9
Kingman Academy 14, Apollo 1
Lee Williams 18, Apollo 8
Kingman Academy 4, Lake Havasu 2