Prep Softball: Lady Tigers ready for next round of state tourney

The Kingman Academy High School softball team continues play in the 2A State Championship at 6 p.m. today against No. 1-seed Benson.

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The Kingman Academy High School softball team continues play in the 2A State Championship at 6 p.m. today against No. 1-seed Benson.

KINGMAN – The run to a state championship continues today for the Kingman Academy High School softball team after it won its first postseason game in program history last Saturday. The No. 8-seeded Lady Tigers will look to keep that momentum rolling at 6 p.m. against No. 1-seed Benson in the quarterfinals of the 2A State Championship at the Rose Mofford Softball Complex in Phoenix.

“Our task at hand is beating Benson,” said Academy’s Chloe Elliott. “We have to do what we know how to do and get our bats going. That’s most important because I know our defense is good.”

The Lady Tigers definitely found their bats in the first round – outhitting Arizona College Prep by a 16-4 margin in an 18-1 blowout victory.

Academy knows its next opponent will be much tougher as the Lady Bobcats went undefeated this year at 18-0 overall and 12-0 in the 2A East Region. However, the Lady Tigers are focused on taking care of business.

“We’re just trying to go in there and play our game,” said Academy’s Tori Salem. “As soon as we start comparing ourselves to other teams, that’s when we start to do kind of bad. We’re just going to go out there and do the best that we can.”

Salem and the rest of the Lady Tigers will have their work cut out for them though. The Lady Bobcats have scored an astounding 67 runs in their last four games and allowed just five during that stretch.

“We just need to hit the ball – that’s it,” Academy’s Shaunti Short said. “I’m confident in our defense and our pitchers. We just need to hit the ball. We have one task and one focus. That’s what’s going to get us through the ball game.”

The Lady Tigers will also look to the pitching duo of Maryssa Edwards and Jessica Plew to hold Benson’s hitters in check. The Lady Bobcats have crushed 53 home runs this season led by freshman Emily Darwin with 16.

“Our whole mindset is we have to stay sharp mentally,” Pena said. “Even if you make mistakes, let them go because the ball is going to find you again. I think we’ll be alright. The girls are pumped up and they’re excited. We’re looking forward to it.”