Hey, let’s have a little love for the little guys. Or maybe just give them some ink.
When you’re hittin’ and pitchin’ in the same market as highly successful baseball and softball programs like those at Arizona State and University of Arizona, it’s not easy to get much notice.
Even when you’re putting two good teams on the field, just like the high-profile programs.
Such is the case with a couple of good programs at Central Arizona College in Coolidge. Besides being out in the middle of the desert, halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, they have to compete in the ACCAC using athletes that generally are not quite ready for prime-time; the major universities scoop up the local talent first.
Which is one reason ASU and UofA are able to garner national recognition year after year.
ASU’s baseball program is 20-0 and ranked No. 1 in the D-I polls, while the softball team is 27-4 and ranked as the eighth-best team in the country. Down in the Old Pueblo, the Wildcats boast a baseball team that is 18-4 and on a 13-game winning streak and a softball team that is a crowd-pleasing hitting machine with a 25-3 record.
But down in Coolidge, there’s that other school that is putting good teams on the field in both baseball and softball. Just like the big boys (and girls).
The CAC baseball team is 22-9 and has won 15 of its last 17 games. It ‘s ranked 17th nationally.
The Vaqueros finished the Jack Howell Classic over the weekend by winning five of its six games. They won the final two games by a combined score of 16-2. Prior to Friday’s game against Odessa, Texas, CAC’s pitching ace, Chris Joyce, was enjoying three consecutive shutouts.
On the softball diamond, the Vaqueras have already won 30 games. Last weekend, they won their first two games in the Cactus Classic tournament, beating teams from Kansas and Texas, before bowing out in the quarterfinals in a 4-3 loss to Glendale CC. The loss to Glendale was just the second for the team in the last 18 games.
CAC had 11 hits in the game against Lamar, Tex., enroute to a 10-2 win, with Elise Duarte accounting for three of those and teammate Shana Tafita picking up two more. The Vaqueras don’t have overpowering pitching, but they bring the big bats to each game.
The Vaqueras get a test today when they host a talented Yavapai College team in Prescott that is 33-8 on the season and brings with it the reigning NJCAA Region I, D-I MVP, pitcher Audrey Workman. The Roughriders also have the third-leading hitter in the conference in Molly Brossart, who is hitting .455 this season.
In a match-up earlier this month, CAC squeezed out a 3-2 win against Yavapai on a neutral field, playing in the Phoenix College Spring Classic.
This time the Roughriders are coming down the hill with a chip on their shoulders.