After rainwashed out last Wednesday’s scheduled play of the Dorado Softball Classic at Mark Jacobs Sports Park, the Marana Tigers had to wait until Thursday to play.
The Tigers won five games, although they were forced into the loser’s bracket after losing 2-1 on Friday to Desert View.
Canyon Del Oro, the host school and defending state champions, made it to the championship game, before losing to Mesa Mountain View, 3-0. In their three games in bracket play, the Dorados outscored their foes by a combined 42-6 margin, scoring at least 13 runs in each of them.
For the Tigers, this tournament was an early step toward preparing for league play and a chance to return to the playoffs after falling short in 2012 with an 11-7 record, 9-4 in region play.
Marana won their first game 23-1 over Palo Verde, as they were led by Sierra Cuestas who had three home runs and Hannah McCoy who had one.
In their second game, the Tigers had a stiffer challenge, before winning over Shadow Mountain, 3-0.
“Their pitcher (Courtney Rohoe) was more experienced,” said Tigers’ fourth-year coach George Corona. “The one for Palo Verde is young.”
The Tigers managed to win, despite getting only one hit on a triple by Taylor Walker.
Walker’s triple in the third inning gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead, as it drove in Jordan Wengert who had reached on an error, and Alex Gehr who had walked and stolen second.
“We weren’t mentally in it,” Walker said. “I thought the ball I hit was foul at first.”
“Our defense is really solid. We have good fielders. We just need to hit into the gaps.”
The second game may turn out to be a microcosm of what the Tigers will deal with this season - good pitching, good defense, and inconsistent hitting. On the pitching side, the Tigers have already shown that they have two good pitchers in Casey Cadenhead and Jordan Wengert. Cadenhead threw four scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, no walks, and struck out six batters. On the offensive side, while batting sixth, she drew three walks in three plate appearances.
Wengert pitched the final three innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits and no walks. She fanned three.
“Defense and pitching are strengths,” Corona said. “And we have two good, experienced pitchers. I think we have a better team this year.”
The Tigers will open the season with six seniors.
What the Tigers did show in the tournament on offense was patience at the plate with seven base on balls, including one in each inning. They also stole five bases, and were ready to move on a few wild pitches and passed balls by Shadow Mountain.
“We didn’t hit at the most opportune time,” Corona said. “We have pretty good speed and we like to be aggressive (on the bases).”
Walker reiterated the offensive approach.
It looked like the offense was coming around when Marana smashed Coconino, 12-3. Cuesta had four hits and drove in three runs. Gehr had two hits, while Wengert had two doubles and scored twice. Maddy Vieux was 3-3 with two runs scored. Unfortunately, the offense went south again in their next game, a 2-1 bracket elimination loss to Desert Vista.
The pitching was on display again, however, as Wengert hurled six innings of two-hit ball and struck out seven batters, despite the loss.
The Tigers rounded out tournament play with wins over Parkland 10-0, and Queen Creek, 7-1, as they finished 5-1 overall.
Mountain View also participated and advanced to the consolation game, defeating Cholla, 8-6.