Sammie Merriman Digital Camera

When Marana softball head coach Dan Collin is asked to describe power-hitting sophomore Sammie Merriman, he gets historical.

"She walks softly and carries a big stick," said Collin with a smile.

That quotation, originally spoken by Teddy Roosevelt concerning U.S. diplomacy and military might, may seem a little over the top, but on Saturday, the Cholla Chargers got a good look at just how bombastic Merriman's bat could be.

In a 4-1 loss to Cholla in the first round of the 4A Sonoran regional tournament, Merriman provided Marana with the team's only run, slamming a sky-high home run in the top of the seventh inning, robbing otherwise-dominant Chargers' pitcher Monet Ormsby of a shutout.

"She kept pitching me inside all day," said Merriman. "So I just tried to do what I do in the batting cages and I found it."

Merriman has found four other home runs this season as well. But that's not all she brings to the field for the Tigers.

"She's a very serious softball player," said Collin.

Merriman agrees.

"I'm very serious," she said. "If we're losing, I'm going to play harder and I want to keep everyone on their toes."

The Tigers will be on their toes until Thursday, as one of the bubble teams possibly excluded when the Arizona Interscholastic Association publishes the brackets for the state tournament beginning May 9.

"It's antagonizing," said Merriman. 'I just want to know."

While Merriman is looking toward Thursday with high anticipation, she is not above stating her goals for the rest of her career at Marana.

"I'm looking for my team to make state every year that I'm here," she said.

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