ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Annie Lockwood: The Paradise Valley senior went 4-for-5 with two homers and six RBIs as the Trojans went 2-0 last week to stay undefeated. Lockwood leads the state in home runs (7) and RBIs (22) and is third in batting average (.657).
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
Scottsdale Christian’s softball program, one of the strongest the last five seasons, is not competing this season.
The program, which won the state title in 2005, finished second in 2003, 2004 and 2006 and was in the final four last season, didn’t have enough players try out. In fact, only two signed up so a week before the season was to begin athletic director Duane Ediger cancelled the season. He also notified the AIA so teams could find opponents to replace the Eagles on their schedules.
The softball program has had its ups and downs in Ediger’s 20-plus years at the school. It’s the third time the school has had to suspend the program due to lack of interest.
Rough region play ahead
The 5A-I Fiesta Region was the beastly league in girls basketball. Softball’s juggernaut in all likelihood will be the 5A-I Desert Valley. Defending state champ Phoenix St. Mary’s, Phoenix Xavier, Scottsdale Desert Mountain and Glendale Mountain Ridge are the combatants. Entering play this weekend that quartet is a combined 39-11. They will play a triple-round robin region schedule beginning March 31 when Xavier and St. Mary’s do battle. Desert Mountain and St. Mary’s may matchup earlier since both are entered in the Desert Mountain Invitational March 25-29 at Scottsdale Horizon Park.
Highland’s Haro back in action
Gilbert Highland’s Talor Haro isn’t all the way back, but is lending her hitting skills at least after knee and shoulder injuries took her away from the field. Haro is 5-for-6 this week with four RBIs. The Hawks have won both games this week.
Finding their niche
Mesa Red Mountain and Mesa Mountain View have dominated the East Valley Region this decade. Mesa High, however, may be able to make a run at the top this year.
The Jackrabbits and new coach Bob Watson, who took over the program in January after piloting the junior varsity, has worked well with varsity assistant Mike Madril in keeping the program’s rise intact. Seniors Bri Robles, Sara Sandoval and Jordan Nelssen are supplying necessary senior leadership. On March 25-29 Mesa will compete in the Desert Mountain Invitational with nary a weak team in the 20-team field.
“Mike’s kind of carried the load up until the last week or so while I’ve acclimatized myself to this new level,” Watson said. “Our seniors are doing a great job on the field in the dugout. We’ll have a real good idea where we’re at after that tournament.”
Pitcher Robles is 7-2 thus far (Mesa is 8-3). Sandoval, an infielder-outfielder, is hitting .455 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. Nelssen a second baseman-outfielder has an on-base percentage hovering around .700.
Games of interest today are Glendale Ironwood at Mesa Red Mountain; Peoria Sunrise Mountain at Scottsdale Horizon; Mesa Mountain View at Tucson Sunnyside and Phoenix Xavier at Tucson Salpointe.