Senior Night Special for Lady Panther

Nayomi Enriquez Recognized

By Daniel Dullum

Imagine Prep-Superstition’s final home softball game of the season on April 11 at Prospector Park was also Senior Night for Lady Panthers’ first baseman Nayomi Enriquez – the team’s lone senior.

Following a disappointing 9-5 loss to Phoenix Paradise Valley Christian, Enriquez was honored by her teammates with a combination of gifts and expressions of gratitude for her leadership.

“It means a lot,” Enriquez said. “I know that sometimes, I do yell at them. But I don’t mean it in a mean way, so it’s refreshing to know that they know that.

“It means a lot too because I know I’m not close to a lot of them, but the fact that they did this for me makes me very happy. It makes me feel like I accomplished what a team captain really is.”

Enriquez, who is headed to Northern Arizona University to study social work, said that being the program’s first team captain was “pretty fun.”

“Most of the girls have never played before, so it was fun to show them our ways and how to play the game right,” she said. “Even though they haven’t played at all, they’ve managed to show us how they’ve improved.”

IPS took a 5-1 lead in the third inning. Alyssa Noble led off with a double and scored on Bella Ortiz’s double. Geneveh Palacio followed with a run-scoring single.

But PVC responded with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth and another unearned run in the fifth. IP-Superstition scored its fifth run on Ortiz’s inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the fifth.

Paradise Valley sent 10 hitters to the plate in the sixth, scoring five runs, two of them on a two-run single by Kendal Baranski.  PVC pitcher Marissa Valenzuela did the rest, shutting down the IP-Superstition offense in the bottom of the sixth, allowing only a two-out single by Alyssa Noble.

“But you have to have a little bit of luck and the ability to come back,” IPS Coach Joe Baumann said. “We had control of this game and it got away from us.”

Lady Panthers starter Jayla Noble struck out four in six innings, and Alyssa Noble was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.

“From the start, we had that game,” Enriquez added. “But once they started scoring on us, we started getting down on ourselves, so our defense was a little shaky.

“It’s just a hard loss. We’re going to bounce back”

Baumann told his squad that this was another part of their ongoing learning process – learning how to win.

“We needed to win this one, the game (Thursday) and one more game and we’d have a shot at the playoffs,” Baumann said.

“We’re still young, we’re still learning.”

One day later, on April 12, the Lady Panthers bounced back and defeated Sequoia Charter 16-4 at Mesa.

With the win, Imagine Prep-Superstition (6-6) holds on to a slim chance to make the CAA Division II playoffs.

Photo above: Imagine Prep-Superstition captain Nayomi Enriquez receives gifts from assistant coach Shatia Chandler on the Lady Panthers’ softball Senior Day at Prospector Park. Story on page A-10 (Photo by Daniel Dullum)

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