Just a couple of weeks ago, things were pretty tight in the ACCAC softball race. Four teams were within a game of each other at the top of the standings.
Since then, Pima CC and Yavapai College have been taking care of business. They are both 20-4, tied for first, and well ahead of the pack. The battle now is to see which of the other three Division I teams snag the final two spots in the region tournament.
Yavapai swept a doubleheader with Central Arizona College on Tuesday, 9-2 and 9-1, to drop the Vaqueras to 15-9. The Roughriders, showing the firepower that makes them the Division I defending national champs, took the lead immediately in each game and never looked back. In the first game, they scored in every inning but the fifth. The second game ended on the eight-run rule in the fifth.
Yavapai spread the hitting around. In the opener, Ashley Snedeker went 3-for-4 that included a home run and two RBIs, and Vanessa House was 3-for-4 with a round-trip and three RBIs. In the nightcap, Brittany Keiser included an RBI in her 3-for-4 performance, and Danielle Muniz was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Also on Tuesday, Pima CC continued its domination of Arizona Western, beating the Matadors for the 13th straight time Tuesday, 3-2 and 8-5. The last time Western beat the Aztecs was somewhere in the 2008 season.
Pima threw Jordan Trujillo in both games, and the Matadors were able to hit her and get runners on base. Getting them home was another matter. The finale looked like Western had a good chance to break the losing streak, as the Matadors got off to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and were up again in the second, 4-3, thanks to a double by Ali Mercado for a couple of runs. But Pima came right back in their half of the frame to score four more runs.
Trujillo improved her season mark to 24-3. She leads the conference in wins.
Western was red-hot last month, going 20-1 into the end of the month. But they’re on a five-game skid right now and are 1-5 against the conference leaders, Yavapai and Pima. In their last four doubleheaders, they’ve come away with splits in three of them.
At 16-10, the Matadors are still in a position to be one of the teams getting into the region playoffs, but they still have to play Central (15-9) and Eastern Arizona (14-10), and both of those teams have the same goal in mind.
The sweep of Central had a little extra significance to Yavapai, ranked No. 10 in the country. The wins brought the Roughriders’ coach, Stacy Iveson, to the next coaching plateau. The second win was her 500th.