It’s been that kind of start for Chandler Hamilton. Most seasons, that would translate to a bevy of losses, individual agendas and ultimate frustration.
The Huskies have been dominant in their fair share of sports for its decade of existence (football, golf, baseball recently), but softball hasn’t been its forte.
We’re only a month into the season, and with the Fiesta Region schedule coming up, the temptation is some things are going to change. Perhaps it will be another struggle of a season along Arizona Ave.
Then again, maybe it won’t. One month into this softball campaign, and the Huskies already have two more victories than all of last season.
Unofficially, the Huskies need two more to reach 13 and set a new school record. Matt Weiner’s team won the Dobson/Marcos de Niza Tournament to start the season, then was on the fun side of a wacky finish against Phoenix Xavier and won the Marcos/McClintock Tournament earlier this month. A championship game in which Hamilton trailed 3-0, tied the game on a 6th-inning home run by Courtney Harris and won it on an RBI double by Megan Rossing.
The Huskies never finished better than third place in any tournament in its existence.
“We’re doing the right things,” said Weiner, a former Arizona State assistant under Linda Wells who helped recruit Kaitlin Cochran, Katie Burkhart and Mindy Cowles to the Sun Devils.
“One person doesn’t step up and the other does.”
Defense has been a particularly bright spot to date. It starts behind the plate with two-time all-region catcher Stephanie Rieck and has trickled outward. The Huskies have sophomores at shortstop, third base and two outfield spots, plus a freshman at second base, but so far it’s been hard to tell.
A squad which committed approximately four errors per game the past two seasons, has made eight miscues in 13 games to date.
“That’s huge,” Weiner said. “It’ll keep you in every game.”
Despite an early region setback to Gilbert Highland, the Huskies fancy themselves as a sleeper team in the Gilbert-school-dominated Fiesta, but whether it comes to fruition or not, eight of the starting nine are playing club ball, and the increased commitment has yielded an increased winning percentage.
“It hasn’t been easy, it’s taken three years to do it,” Weiner said, “In high school it’s a mix of club players and sometimes half the team is out there for social reasons. We’ve gotten into being a team which plays nearly year-round, and they all still like each other.”
Basketball, soccer and wrestling coaches need to send in their nominations for the all-Tribune teams.
Here’s what we need:
•Name, School, Year in school, position
•Applicable stats for this past season
•Accolades, other nominations, awards (All-region or All-State), milestones, college of choice, etc...
Boys soccer coaches should send their nominations to Kyle. Girls soccer coaches should send theirs to me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Wrestlers should send theirs to Les.
The deadline for nominations is Sunday night. How quickly we can turn around your information will ultimately determine when the All-Tribune teams will be printed.
All-Trib watch: Queen Creek senior captain Eddie Malone went 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs in a 6-4 win against Avondale Agua Fria. The catcher/infielder is hitting .488 with four home runs, 12 runs and 16 RBIs this season.
Scottsdale Horizon beats top team
No aluminium fan: Maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of aluminum bats in high school and college baseball. Maybe it’s because I grew up with the Minnesota Twins.
Either way, it was refreshing to see a high school baseball world full of slugfests still has room for the occasional small-ball. Scottsdale Horizon knocked off one of the best teams in the country in Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 2-1, on Monday night. It happened because of a sensational performance from pitcher Joey Danner, a triple, a walk by Brandon Snyder (after trailing 0-2 in the count), a perfect bunt by Johnny Rubino, and two more sacrifices.
Temple off to fast start
Strong pitching: No individual in the East Valley is off to a hotter start this season than Chandler Valley Christian pitcher Hayley Temple. She committed to Wichita State and is making the most of her final high school spring.
On the mound, the senior entered Tuesday with a 7-2 record, 0.83 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 59 innings. She’s hitting .645 with 14 runs, nine extra-base hits and 19 RBIs.
E.V. Region bats sluggish
Slow start: Growing pains for the East Valley Region in baseball. Entering Tuesday’s play the rest of Class 5A was rolling.
Central Region teams were a combined 31-10 (.756), followed by the Pima Region at 36-12 (.750) and the Fiesta Region at 32-16 (.667).
Meanwhile, the East Valley Region was 19-25 (.432). Young pitching has been prevalent in the Mesa schools, as has significant roster turnover from last year, so it’s probably a good thing the state tournament is six weeks away.
“Those will be very tough times. It’s real. It’s unbelievable.”
Scottsdale Chaparral coach Charlie Ragle, on the death and funeral for senior receiver Brandon Martin, who passed away in his sleep last Sunday night.