Vaqueras split doubleheader against Mesa
By ED PETRUSKA Contributing Writer Pinal Central
SIGNAL PEAK — A fifth consecutive doubleheader sweep was not in the cards for the Central Arizona College softball team.
In an all too familiar scenario, the Vaqueras run-ruled Mesa 10-2 in Tuesday's opener at CAC Field and came up short in Game 2, losing 8-5. It marked the third time that a run-rule win followed by a Game 2 loss has befallen the team this season and the fourth time CAC has had to settle for a split after winning the opener.
"I thought we had jumped that hurdle the last few games," CAC coach Shelby Davis said. She was referring to doubleheader sweeps of GateWay on March 3, Glendale on March 6, South Mountain on Saturday and Midland, Texas, on Monday.
After taking a 3-0 Game 2 lead against the Thunderbirds, things were looking good. But Mesa struck for eight runs in the top of the fourth inning and Central (20-13, 11-9 Arizona Community College Athletic Conference) could not recover.
"That's kind of haunted us all year long," Davis said. "We can't come out and be really aggressive the first game and then be content with just making contact in the second game. Even with the runs we gave up (in Game 2), we give ourselves a chance if we have better at-bats."
The Vaqueras pounded out 12 hits in the opener, including five doubles. They scored six runs in the first inning and four in the fourth.
"We went up there with intention," Davis said.
Mesa (15-13, 11-13 ACCAC) had five hits off Garcia, who struck out three, walked none and hit two. The Thunderbirds scored both of their runs in the third.
Central sent 10 batters to the plate in the first inning, getting seven hits off Sammy Quezada. Among those were Garcia's two-run double, RBI doubles by Ewell and Zoe Collins and run-scoring singles by Miranda and Hannah Norris.
Mesa made it 6-2 in the third on Lindsey Paboucek's RBI double and a sacrifice fly by Ryann Holmes. Paboucek went 3 for 3.
CAC's four-run fourth featured Miranda's RBI double and Ewell's RBI single. Garcia drove in the first run with a bases-loaded groundout.
Zoe Collins did not allow a hit through the first three innings of Game 2. But she couldn't record an out in the fourth as Mesa broke through in stunning fashion. The first 10 batters reached base — seven on hits, two on errors and one on a walk — before Garcia was brought in.
The key hits for the Thunderbirds were two-run doubles by Bailee Snyder and Mercedes Navaro, Paboucek's two-run single and a single by Quezada that drove in the first run.
Mesa had two runners aboard when Garcia entered. Both were tagged out at third on a double-rundown sequence before the inning ended with a flyout to left.
The Vaqueras stranded six runners in scoring position.
"We had too many missed opportunities," Davis said.
Thomas and Ewell each had two hits for Central. Snyder had three of Mesa's nine hits and Paboucek had two.