The Yavapai College softball team concluded its incredible regular season on Tuesday afternoon with a sweep of the No. 12-ranked Eastern Arizona College Gila Monsters, winning 8-0 in game one and 12-4 in game two.
The Conference Champion Roughriders now head into the NJCAA Division I Region I Tournament with a 50-3 overall record and 42-2 conference record. In addition, Tuesday’s sweep gave Head Coach Doug Eastman his third 50-win season at the helm of YC softball.
Sophomore pitcher Emily Dix dominated in her game-one start as she tossed a complete-game shutout. In Dix’s seven innings, she struck out 14 Gila Monsters and allowed just four hits.
Offensively, Yavapai got on the board in the top of the second on a two-out two-run double to right-center from freshman outfielder Sierra Griego.
In the top of the third, sophomore outfielder Kayla Rodgers singled to start things off and was followed by back-to-back home runs from freshman infielders Yaya Kaaialii and Lovey Kepa’a to push the YC lead to 5-0.
The Roughriders nearly put the run-rule into effect in the top of the fourth when sophomore utility woman Alyssa Rosales tripled to right-center to lead things off and came around to score on another RBI double off the bat of Griego. Griego then crossed home plate a couple of batters later on an RBI single from Kaaialii to make it a 7-0 game.
After scoreless efforts in the fifth and sixth innings kept the ballgame going, Kepa’a left the yard with a solo shot in the top of the seventh to bring the game to its final of 8-0.
At the plate, Rodgers and Griego each tallied three hits while Kaaialii and Kepa’a had two apiece. Freshman catcher Jasmine Moreno, freshman infielder Makena Riggs and Rosales all had one hit in game one.
Freshman pitcher Emily Darwin got the start in game two and pitched four innings before handing the ball to Dix for a couple of innings. Darwin then closed out the ballgame by pitching the seventh.
At the plate, Griego stayed red-hot as she hit an inside-the-park homer in the top of the third inning to give the Roughriders a 1-0 lead.
After the Gila Monsters tied things up in the bottom of the third, Yavapai took the lead once more in the top of the fifth on another Griego RBI double and sacrifice fly from sophomore outfielder Mia Weckel.
Down 3-1, Eastern tied things up once more in the bottom of the fifth, however, the Roughriders took complete control of game two with some late inning fireworks in the sixth and seventh frames.
In the top of the sixth, Riggs hit a go-ahead two-run homer to re-take the lead, one Yavapai would not surrender the rest of the afternoon.
In the top of the seventh, Rodgers singled in two runs, Kaaialii hit a two-run bomb and Riggs put the nail in the coffin with her second homer of the game, a three-run shot that gave YC a 12-3 lead.
The Gila Monsters scratched a run across in the bottom of the seventh to bring the game to its final of 12-4.
The Roughriders are back in action on May 13-14 at home where they will host the NJCAA Division I Region I Tournament.
– D.J. Irwin