Following a two-game skid, the Camp Verde softball team needed to come out and get a win, which it was able to do in dominant fashion in five innings with a 15-0 thrashing of Northland Prep Academy.
"Whole different ball game. We were on the other end of the spectrum this time," said head coach Debbi Miller. "We had a really big talk yesterday about confidence in each other, confidence in themselves and just working hard. That's what we did today and it paid off."
The game was supposed to be played April 9, at Northland Prep, but due to snow from the day before, Camp Verde was not able to make it up there. The game was rescheduled for the following day at Camp Verde, with the Cowboys playing visitor on their own field.
"It [the win] was needed after the other day, it was needed," Miller said. "It gives them that confidence now, and going into that game on Friday, it will really help, and they had a good time. Unfortunately girls are that way. When girls are having a good time, they play hard. When they're not having a good time, they don't always play hard, so we're working on that too."
Despite the arrangements, the Cowboys were not fazed, scoring three runs in its' first at-bat and not letting up. The Spartans on the other hand were not ready for Camp Verde.
Northland Prep is new and inexperienced, according to Cowboys head coach Debbi Miller, and only has two girls on the team with any softball experience, going up against a team that can play against the best teams in the division, as shown by the 1-0 and 2-1 losses to Payson and Mingus Union, respectively.
With the score approaching 10-0 in the third inning, Miller sat most of her starters and played girls that had not had a chance to log much time get the experience. One of the regular starters that stayed in the game was pitcher Madison Garcia.
"Its kind of hard [making adjustments from school-to-school], but no matter what, I don't let up. I was taught that way," Madison said. "To never let up, no matter who it is, because they can always come back."
With the offense firing on all cylinders during the game, there was plenty for Miller and the team to be happy about, but the highlight was senior Shelby Mulcaire.
"I just told them to go out and have fun," Miller said. "We really worked yesterday on our hitting and having confidence in each other, because the game the other day, they really struggled with supporting each other, so that's what we did today and it worked. They just relaxed and we needed to relax. We we're so uptight the other day that we had a hard time. They were relaxed and that's what we're going to try to do from now on, is play a good game but we have to be relaxed and comfortable with what we're doing."
Shelby had a goal of hitting a home run this season, but had not accomplished it yet. Then during her at-bat in the third inning, she connected on a pitch and sent the ball deep in between the Spartans left and center fielders. They both chased the ball as it soared through the air, but soon realized that they did not have a chance of catching it and watched the ball go over the fence.
"Shelby got her homerun, which she's been trying [for]," Miller said. "Those are a little easier to get than on a faster pitcher, because your trying hard, and you get under it, its' got more spin, this one probably didn't have much spin, but she did a great job."
With six games left and currently No. 19 in Division-III, the Cowboys preseason goal of going to the playoffs is within reach. Games against Sedona Red Rock sandwich a double header against Mayer and games at Prescott and Payson.
"It was really important [to get a win], but, and this is not trying to be mean, but this was kind of an easy win for us," Madison said. "The game that I'm really looking forward to is Friday against Sedona. That's the one that really counts ... they're a bigger school, so they'll get us more points towards state."