Softball: Aztecs have score to settle

By JASON WEIR

The Pima Community College softball team finished second to Phoenix College in last year’s tournament.

They won the first two games, one against Phoenix, and needed only one more win for the title but lost two straight

games to the Phoenix Bears.

“Our sophomores and coaches still have a bitter taste,” head coach Armando Quiroz said. “I am hoping this will be a

motivating factor. Getting kicked in the gut is something you don’t forget.”

Maybe an even bigger factor will be the confidence the Aztecs have after they finished the season with four straight

run-rule victories.

They outscored their opponents 45-2 in those four games.

“I feel really confident about how we’re heading into the tournament,” freshman Bailey Critchlow said.

After a rough stretch where they went 2-4-1, the Aztecs finished the season 12-2 in their last 14 games.

“We are on a high right now and we are playing really relaxed and as a team,” Critchlow said. “It is a big change from

how we were in the middle (of the season). Everyone is picking each other up.”

Sophomore Odalis Orduno is also pleased with the team’s current play.

“We are on the right track and we’re ready for regionals,” Orduno said.

Orduno was named ACCAC Pitcher of the week for April 18-24. This is the fourth time she won the award this year.

“It feels like an accomplishment,” she said.

As much as PCC wants revenge against Phoenix, they will have to play Glendale Community College first when the

tourney starts May 5.

“Glendale is very tough, they’ve really improved,” Quiroz said. “We can’t look ahead to Phoenix or anyone else

because we have a tough first game.”

The Aztecs went 3-1 against the Gauchos this year, but split the last two games.

“They played us really tough the last time,” Critchlow said. “But because we are on such a roll right now I think we’re

good. We are in a really good place heading into the tournament.”

Phoenix will host South Mountain Community College in the double elimination tournament’s other game. The two

winners play each other with the winning team going to the finals, as Pima did last year.

Winning on the road is always a challenge.

“There are lots of factors and distractions playing there that we must overcome,” Quiroz said.

Sophomore Kalynn Martinez keeps it in perspective.

“It would be nice to be here for regionals, but at the end of the day it’s softball so you just go out and play,” she said.

“Whoever plays better is going to win.”

The confidence of the Aztecs may carry this team to a title.

Critchlow said the key is “staying confident throughout the whole thing. Every once in a while, especially against

Phoenix we can get down if they string a couple of hits together. We need to remember we are good. We can beat

Phoenix.”

For season results and stats, visit pimaaztecs.com.

The ACCAC Division II Regional Tournament is on May 6-7.

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