The No. 2-ranked Yavapai College softball team hit the road on Saturday afternoon and faced off against the Pima Community College Aztecs twice, tallying two victories in addition to some impressive statistical feats: a three-homer game, a cycle and a no-hitter.
With victories of 18-12 and 17-0 over Pima, Yavapai moves to 31-2 overall and 23-1 within the conference this season.
The Roughriders built a big lead in game one, however, the Aztecs were relentless and quickly turned the game into a slugfest rather than a blowout.
The aforementioned big lead featured a first inning grand slam off the bat of freshman catcher Jasmine Moreno, solo homer from sophomore outfielder Mia Weckel in the second inning, solo homer from sophomore utility woman Alyssa Rosales in the third inning, two-run double off the bat of freshman infielder Yaya Kaaialii in the third and RBI single from Moreno in the third to give YC a 9-0 lead heading into the bottom of the third.
Down big, Pima pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the third, however, the Roughriders got those runs back on Rosales’ second homer of the day in the top of the fourth, a two-run shot that was also the 100th home run hit by the YC softball team this season.
Down 11-2 in the bottom of the fourth, the Aztecs continued to cut into the Yavapai lead, this time with a grand slam of their own to bring the score to 11-6.
Following the Pima outburst, each team scored one run in the fifth, before some fireworks in the sixth inning.
Rosales led off the frame with her third home run of the day to give YC a 13-7 lead and was followed by a two-run homer off the bat of sophomore outfielder Kayla Rodgers and an RBI single off the bat of freshman infielder Lovey Kepa’a to balloon the advantage to 16-7.
Again, however, the Aztecs refused to give up and countered the Roughriders with five runs of their own to bring the score to 16-12.
With a high-scoring slugfest at hand, Yavapai was able to settle matters down in the seventh as it tallied insurance runs with an RBI single from Rodgers and RBI double from Kaaialii and kept Pima off the scoreboard to secure the 18-12 victory.
Inside the circle, sophomore pitcher Emily Dix closed the contest out with 1.2 innings pitched and four strikeouts in what was not her most impressive performance of the day.
At the plate in game one, Moreno (double and homer) and Rosales (three homers) each had four hits while Rodgers (homer), Kaaialii (three doubles) and freshman outfielder Sierra Griego all had three hits. Weckel (homer) and Kepa’a each had two hits and freshman infielder Makena Riggs added a hit to the effort as well.
The Roughriders took all the drama out of the equation in game two and emerged victorious with a dominant 17-0 score.
After closing out game one, Dix stepped inside the circle in game two and was brilliant as she tossed a five-inning no-hitter while striking out five Aztecs.
Offensively, the Roughriders tallied 20 hits (five of which left the yard) and scored three in the first, seven in the second, three in the third and four in the fifth.
Kaaialii paced the offense in game two as she finished with four hits, including a single, double triple and homer, to complete the cycle in addition to scoring four times and driving in five. Weckel, Rodgers (double), Kepa’a (two homers) and Riggs (homer) all had three hits while freshman catcher Ashley Fields (double and homer) had two. Moreno and Griego each added one hit apiece to the game-two effort as well.
The Roughriders are back on the softball field on Tuesday, March 29, at home where they will host the Mesa Community College Thunderbirds in an ACCAC doubleheader that starts at noon.
– D.J. Irwin