Much like the Salt River Eagles varsity boys baseball team, the Lady Eagles struggled with fundamental errors in the annual Salt River Classic, finishing with a 2-2 record. This year 34 girls teams traveled to compete in two divisions, Gold and Silver. The Lady Eagles competed in the Gold Division.
The Lady Eagles’ first game was against a very good team, the Valley Union High School Blue Devils from Cochise County, who are undefeated in their section. The competitive match-up ended with the Lady Eagles ahead by one run. Senior Rachel Cooper went 3-4 and had one RBI.
Next, leading for nearly the entire game, the Valley Christian High School Lady Trojans thought they had a “W” in the bag. But in the sixth inning, down by one, the Lady Eagles’ defense shut out the Lady Trojans, and then the Lady Eagles followed up by scoring one run. With the game tied going into the final inning, the Lady Eagles shut out the Lady Trojans again, then added two more runs, notching a win with a final score of 7-9.
“The competition isn’t that tough. There are some good teams, [but] all seem to be beatable. But that’s why we play the game,” said Scott Cooper, head coach of the Lady Eagles.
On Friday evening, the competition came from the Superior High School Lady Panthers, an overall solid ball club undefeated in their section. The Lady Eagles had trouble scoring, as the defense kept them off the board until the third inning. But when the Lady Eagles did score in the third, it wasn’t enough. The Lady Panthers finished off the Lady Eagles, 12-6. Nikki Kauakahi led Salt River in RBIs with four and went 3-4.
The following morning, the Lady Eagles played their final game in the classic, against the Arizona Lutheran Academy Lady Coyotes. The Lady Eagles started off solid, tallying four runs in the first inning. Continuing to score a run here and there, the Lady Eagles looked comfortable heading into the fifth inning with the score at 8-6. But after a double by Danielle Marquez, the Lady Coyotes’ bats began to ring. As frustration grew and the Lady Eagles’ defense began to produce errors, the Lady Eagles could only watch as the umpire called the game due to the 10-run rule.
“It’s hard for a pitcher to watch these errors occur,” said Cooper. “You think to yourself, ‘OK, I have to strike them out,’ and then everything starts to unfold in front of your face because you’re trying to do everything yourself.”
Last year the Lady Eagles finished as the runner-up in the tournament. Although the stats show 2-2, the Lady Eagles look to do well in their section overall. Reducing fundamental errors and being at the plate will help aid them in a winning season.