Lady Panthers Even Record at 4-4, Look at Possible Playoff Berth
By Daniel Dullum
Bella Ortiz has emerged as Imagine Prep-Superstition’s hitting star in the Lady Panthers’ first season of softball, hitting .586 with five home runs with 14 runs batted in.
Ortiz isn’t sure what her secret is, only that she’s enjoying her success at the plate.
“I’m not really sure,” Ortiz said. “I think I need more practice with the fielding and my pop flies, but in batting, I’ve found my spot.
“I can define the pitcher, whether it’s slow or fast, and I kind of switch my positions when I know if the pitcher is slow or fast.”
But on April 4, neither Ortiz, nor her IPS teammates, could solve American Leadership Academy-Gilbert pitcher Miah Ibarra as the visiting Eagles emerged with an 18-3 win at Prospector Park.
The Lady Panthers (4-4) broke up Ibarra’s no-hitter and shutout with a three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning, sparked by Abigail Otteman’s RBI single.
“They didn’t quit,” Baumann said. “The thing I try to get across to them is that, their pitcher was just about all they had. Once we started to put the ball in play, and run the bases, they did the same things we did.
“When you’re striking out and not putting the ball in play, you’re not exposing their weaknesses. That’s what we didn’t do.”
While Ibarra struck out 10 and walked three in her one-hitter, Baumann had to juggle his lineup.
“Our shortstop (Annalise Chiera) had to play left field, so we have somebody different at short, somebody different at third, and it’s tough,” Baumann said. “We’ll bounce back.”
Despite the loss, the Lady Panthers are in the CAA Division II playoff race.
“If we can win three more games, we’ll be right in the middle of the pack, which means we won’t have to play the No. 1 seed,” Baumann said. “We’ll probably wind up playing someone just like us.”
Photo above: Imagine Prep-Superstition’s Jayla Noble slides in head-first to score the Lady Panthers’ first run in a CAA softball game against ALA-Gilbert at Prospector Park. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)