Lady Panthers Make Softball Debut

Imagine Prep Begins Process of Building New Program

By Daniel Dullum

With five decades of coaching experience, Joe Bachmann knew how to keep Imagine Prep-Superstition’s lopsided season-opening loss in a perspective that goes with building a new softball program.

“I’ve seen this more than a few times before,” Bachmann said. “I’ve also seen teams bounce back from this as well.”

Heritage Academy-Mesa’s veteran lineup scored early and often, winning 20-0 in five innings at Prospector Park on Feb. 28, spoiling the debut of Lady Panthers softball.

“A lot of times, the best thing to do, initially, is to forget about it,” Bachmann said. “Get it out of your mind, go home, get in their head what they did wrong, and correct them when we get back to practice.”

Though it seemed the Lady Panthers skipped the frying pan and jumped directly into the CAA Division II, Region 1 fire, first baseman Naomi Enriquez refused to let the loss dampen her – or her team’s – enthusiasm.

“Honestly, we knew it was going to be tough,” Naomi said. “We were just beating ourselves. It’s our first actual game and Imagine’s first-ever softball team and everyone was depending on us to win.

“There was a lot of pressure on us, we know now we just have to come back stronger.”

IPS catcher Alyssa Noble added, “It was a good experience but I wish we could have done better. It was just one game.”

The Lady Panthers took the field with a roster that includes one senior, five eighth-graders and one seventh-grader.

“We have a lot of young players; some of them have never played before,” Bachmann said, acknowledging the learning curve his young squad faces. “You can’t expect them, after one four-inning game, to be perfect.

“They’ll get it. We’ve got some good players, some coordinated people. Today, we saw a girl who is likely the best pitcher in the league. She struck out 10 and we made about 10 errors. When you do that, that’s a problem, but it’s all fixable.”

Bachmann said that along with their skill level, the girls must work on the mental aspect of the game.

“And they have to work on that on their own,” he said.

Asked if her team was ready to get back to business for their next game, hosting Phoenix South Ridge on Monday, Naomi Enriquez enthusiastically responded, “Oh, yes!”

Photo above: Coach Joe Bachmann addresses the Lady Panthers following their first-ever softball game, a 19-0 loss to Heritage-Mesa. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)

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