Softball | 02/20/2021
SB: #9 AWC Fends Off South Mountain
YUMA, Ariz—After two weeks off, the #9 Arizona Western Matadors (11-2 overall) had to fend off a very game South Mountain Cougar (0-2 overall) team that was anxious to open their season in a non-conference double-header at Charlie Dine Field Saturday afternoon.
But the Matadors were able to extend their winning streak to nine consecutive games, fending off one comeback before completing one of their own.
Christina Robles sparked the offense from the very beginning with a triple into the left field corner, starting the bottom of the first. She would eventually score on Josie Hernandez’ sacrifice fly.
That seemed like plenty of runs for Anahi Grijalva, the Matador starter who struck out the side in the second and five consecutive hitters into the third. Grijalva did not allow a base runner until a Matador error in the fourth and did not allow a hit until Jianna Martinez singled to lead off the fifth.
The Matadors doubled the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Lynette Niebla singled to start the inning. Robles doubled to put runners on second and third before Iliana Manzano delivered the sacrifice fly.
But South Mountain found their timing against Grijalva in the sixth as Alexa Key tripled to center and scored on Mia Stankiewicz RBI single. Stankiewicz tied the game when she came home on Tara Lorona’s single.
But the Matadors responded effusively in the sixth as Nicole Moran singled to start the inning and pinch-runner Cielo Echols came around on Angela Oros’ triple into the gap. The Mats would add on as Chloe Garcia delivered a sacrifice fly and RBI singles from Robles and Manzano pushed the lead to 6-2.
Grijalva worked around a single and a hit batter to close out the game in the seventh, finishing with 11 K’s in the complete game victory, improving her record to 4-0 on the year.
The Matadors started game two in similar fashion as Robles singled and stole second. Advanced to third on a ground ball before scoring on a wild pitch to put Arizona Western up 1-0.
Matador freshman starter Kelly Katalbas flashed her strike out stuff early, striking out the side in the second. But South’s offense had found its confidence at the end of game one.
After Taytem Ellis singled to start the third, Key tripled her home and scored on a sacrifice fly from Stankiewicz, giving South Mountain its first lead of the day.
They added to it in the fourth as Jaudrey Ah Quin blasted a homer well over the left field fence to chase Katalbas from the game.
McKenzie Gray calmed the Cougar’s bats until the sixth when Ah Quin singled and eventually scored on Key’s single, making it 4-1.
The Matadors had tough luck with South starter Tori Van Arsdale who held the Matadors to just two hits until the fifth. But it was in the sixth that they broke through. Oros singled with one out and Salazar quickly followed. After Sadie Chavez walked to load the bases, Kiki Mendoza belted a double off the left field fence to clear the bases and tie the game at four.
Arizona Western wrapped up the ball game promptly in the seventh as Chloe Garcia came off the bench with a one-out pinch-hit double and quickly scored on Moran’s walk-off double.
McKenzie Gray earned the victory after four innings of relief, improving to 4-1.
Christian Smith was saddled with both losses for South Mountain falling to 0-2.
Arizona Western will hit the road for four games in Henderson, Nevada next weekend, playing two against Southern Nevada and two against Snow College.
Those games will be live-streamed, at a cost of $8.54 per game, by Southern Nevada.
Arizona Western College is one of the top community colleges in Arizona. The college boasts partnerships with all three state universities that include face-to-face classes in Yuma.