SIGNAL PEAK — Saturday’s softball doubleheader featured two teams on the opposite end of the spectrum in Central Arizona College and Paradise Valley Community College.
The Vaqueras (21-10, 15-7 ACCAC) took care of business, grabbing a pair of run-rule victories, 22-0 and 11-0.
“We were pretty clean (defensively) and that’s one thing we’ve been talking about a lot at practice,” CAC coach Shelby Davis said. “One little mistake can lead to a lot of runs especially against a good team, they’re going to execute against those mistakes. So just making sure that we’re taking care of the ball and keeping things really basic.”
CAC’s pitchers, Sarah Norton and Jessica Mercado, each tossed a five-inning shutout.
In one of Mercado’s better outings, the Casa Grande Union alum allowed two hits, walked four and struck out six.
“She was struggling a little bit in the beginning but then she kind of rebounded, and that’s something that she’s needed to do,” Davis said.
Norton, who was named the ACCAC Division I Pitcher of the Week for a second consecutive week, was a force in the circle as she struck out 10, scattered three hits and walked one.
The Vaqueras scored six runs in the first inning of Game 1, as they showed a lot of disciple at the plate with eight walks.
“Just one pitch that we can hit hard rather than getting too anxious up there and thinking I have to swing at a ball,” Davis said. “If I have to draw a walk it may not be what I’m wanting to do but just being disciplined enough to know that I can’t hit the ball hard unless I swing at a good pitch.”
CAC loaded the bases without having to swing the bat, and the first run scored also did not involve a hit, as Paradise Valley pitcher Jordyn Cromer struggled to find the strike zone.
Another run scored on a sacrifice fly by Bella Garcia before two more walks were issued, and CAC led 3-0 before Evelyn Roman emptied the loaded bases with a double.
Roman’s big hit of the day came in the third, as she homered with two runners on base. Roman went 2-for-2 with 7 RBIs.
Roman was one of eight Vaqueras to have two hits in the game.
Ana Rodriguez also had a three-run home run when she came pinch hit for Mercado in the fourth.
“I liked that we were aggressive at the plate,” Davis said. “I don’t think we swung at a lot of bad pitches and that was something that we talked about, our goal was to get in there and attack good pitches at the plate, and I think we accomplished that and got good results because of it.”
CAC’s big inning in Game 2 was in the second as Kirsta Wright led things off with a walk and after stealing second, she came around to score on a single by Rodriguez.
Following two quick outs, Danielle Farnias scored Rodriguez to make it a 3-0 game and the Vaqueras added two more on a Sonia Solis home run.
Solis led the way in the second game with four RBIs and was 3 for 4. Serinah Sanchez, Wright and Garcia each had two hits, as Wright and Garica both hit a double.
CAC has four doubleheaders left in the regular season and will be on the road until May 1, when the Vaqueras host Yavapai College in their final home game.
“Just keep it simple,” Davis said. “We’ve been practicing, and we just need to do the small things. Just getting bunts down and moving runners, not over-complicating the game and I think that’s something that we’re going to have to do now that we’re finishing out against tough teams, which is good because we’re going to head into regionals.”
Prior to the game, both teams released balloons with Howard and Dawn Mauer, in remembrance of former CAC pitcher Deanna Mauer.
Mauer went on to play at San Jose State and was killed in a car collision by a driver who was texting while driving.
“We try to remember her every year around the anniversary of her death,” Davis said. “Her parents come out every April and are great supporters of our program. It’s a sad situation, but they’ve been a great support for us and the legislation in supporting no texting and driving.”