Though the Canyon Del Oro Dorados’ softball team has a new head coach, the mission this year is the same as years past- win the state championship. The Dorados have a long history of doing so, having achieved the feat seven times in the past, to include three 5A titles in 1992, 2001, and 2005, and four 4A Division I state titles in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.
The Dorados are looking to add 2012 to the resume in Division II play.
With two games remaining in the season, the Dorados hold a 25-4 regular season record, as of April 21. Head Coach Stephanie Nicholson said the team goes into each game with the same mentality.
“We treat every game like a championship game,” she said in a previous interview. “We don’t take anyone lightly.”
The strategy has paid off for the Dorados, who have won twelve of their last thirteen games, including most recently, an 11-0 win over Marana.
“For us to have a game like that at Marana really shows we are going the right direction,” said sophomore Sammy Nettling, who was a part of the 2011 Division I championship team. “Everyone was contributing. We are peaking at the right moment.”
Nettling said a state championship this year would mean even more than last year.
“We have been sort of overshadowed by our rival this year,” she said. “It’s also our first year with no Fowler on the team, we have a new coach, and we have seniors like Sammi Noland and Kayla Bonstrum graduating this year,” she said. “To win it all this year would be even more special than winning it all last year.”
Unfortunately for the Dorados, Noland has missed the past few games after suffering a skull fracture in a non-softball related incident. However, the team is optimistic Noland will make a return before the state tournament gets underway on April 28.
A state championship would be the third for seniors like Noland and Kayla Bonstrum, but a win this year would be unlike any other.
“Being a senior, this would be a great way to finish the season,” she said. “It would serve as an extra pat on the back, and it would be something we could take with us before we graduate.”
Bonstrum will take her talents to Stanford next year, while Noland will head to Nebraska.
Win or lose at state, Bonstrum said the CDO softball program has given her some unforgettable friends and memories.
“This team has been awesome,” she said. “It’s been a great experience as a senior to be with these girls. Some of the best memories throughout high school have been with the softball team.”
With the regular season drawing to a close, the Dorados will likely enter the state tournament with a first round bye, meaning their first match would not come until May 1.
“We’re ready,” said Nettling. “We are ready to start playing.”