By Daniel Dullum
After Imagine Prep-Superstition’s youthful softball team concluded an 11-1 loss to American Leadership Academy-Gilbert on April 18, eighth-grade second baseman Abby Otteman was trying to work the kinks out of a sore shoulder – the residue of a long season of learning a new sport.
“It hurts, but I’m OK,” Otteman said. “I think we played pretty good for our first season and accomplished a lot.”
It was the same story for the Lady Panthers in Gilbert – one bad inning. This time, it was the second, when the Eagles scored eight of their runs.
Coach Joe Baumann called it “the one-inning blues.”
After the long second inning, when ALA-Gilbert batted around, eighth-grader Jorian Foley, the Lady Panthers’ pitcher, said, “I was trying to bring my teammates back up. At times, I’ve struggled with my confidence and it happened again that inning. But I got it back.”
Just one day earlier, the Lady Panthers traveled to Coolidge and pounded Imagine Prep-Coolidge 25-12. A 12-run fourth inning keyed the win for IPS. Alyssa Noble was 2-for-3 with four runs scored, Jayla Noble scored three runs.
Geneveh Palacio was 2-for-3 with two walks, a double and two runs scored, Bella Ortiz hit a double and scored four times, and Foley walked four times and scored three runs.
Baumann juggled the lineup against ALA-Gilbert, moving Jayla Noble from pitcher to third, Alyssa Noble from catcher to shortstop, and Geneveh Palacio from third to her natural position at shortstop.
The Lady Panthers concluded their inaugural season on April 19 at ALA-Ironwood, where they suffered a 19-4 setback. IPS finished at 7-8 overall.
“A couple of our administrators told me that for us to win seven games this season is ‘a major accomplishment,’ Baumann said. “I’m looking forward to next season.”
Photo above: Imagine Prep-Superstition Coach Joe Bachmann addresses his team following an 11-1 CAA Division II softball defeat by American Leadership Academy-Gilbert. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)