Cougars earn dramatic victory over Maricopa Wells
By Daniel Dullum
Cactus Canyon Jr. High came from behind to defeat Maricopa Wells 20-16 on Oct. 2, winning the Desert Mountain Middle School League softball championship.
Cactus Canyon finished its season 10-0. Team members include: Rooke Carlson, Payton Dillon, Esteem Villejo-Compean, Shantel Ortiz, Libby Henwood, Rebecca Elias, Heather Quirk, Adelyn Simpson, Adrianne Thorsvig, Trinity Funk, Kaylee Wagner, Addison Cooksey, Kylie Watko, Anissa Rivera, Anna Mayfield, Savannah Bennett, Chloe Florence and Danielle Ruiz.
“The girls took great pride in leading the tradition of winning at the junior high, and were not going to allow defeat,” Cougars Coach Bill Wilson said. “We had a very good hitting team, and very aggressive on the bases.”
In the first game of the tournament, Cactus Canyon defeated Maricopa Wells 14-12. In the championship game, the Cougars gave up seven runs in the first inning and wound up trailing 11-3.
Over the next two innings, Cactus Canyon closed to within 15-10. A 10-run rally put the Cougars ahead to stay.
“It was the biggest hitting parade that I have ever been a part of,” Wilson said. “Dani Ruiz, Addison Cooksey, Savanah Eagerly all had extra base hits … We had superb base running by Libbie Henwood and Shantel Ortiz on safety squeeze bunts to score the tying and go ahead runs. Great bunting by Kaylie Wagner and Anissa Rivera, and the inning started with our smallest player, Heather Quirk, looping a single to left field to start this avalanche of hits.
“I could not be prouder than I am of these young ladies, they did not back down and kept on chipping away and played with confidence even though they made more mistakes than they did the whole year. They just buckled down and played hard.”
Heather Martens assisted Wilson this season. With the victory, the Cougars have a 60-1 record over the last six seasons, with six consecutive league titles.
“This team again is so special because we didn’t have a big gun, so to speak, as a pitcher like we had in the past,” Wilson said. “They had to all do their part – bunt, run, steal to set up the big hitters and it all came together as a team.”