By KYLE McDANIEL
After 11 seasons at the helm, Armando Quiroz called it quits as Pima Community College’s Softball coach.
Rebekah Quiroz, who had been an associate head coach since 2013, was promoted to head coach. Quiroz, a former player at Pima, knows what it’ll take to get the Aztecs back on top of junior college softball.
What has helped ease the transition is the eight returning players, including sophomore pitcher Alese Casper, who will have to step up this year as she takes over for last season’s ace Paige Adair. Sophomore Mya Cabral was named Pre-season NJCAA All-American after making the All-American team at the end of last season, which could help boost the team morale.
The Aztecs kicked off the season at the College of Southern Nevada Kickoff Classic in Henderson, Nevada.
Feb. 12 (H): PCC 9, Central-Gilbert CC 3 (Game 1)
With the game tied at three in the bottom of the second inning, sophomore Devynn Marshall stepped up to the plate. She launched a double RBI single to give the Aztecs the lead. Mya Cabral also drove in two RBI’s after she hit a double. She would finish the game 3 for 4 with four RBI.
Freshman Bianca Castillo got the win after pitching a complete game. She allowed three earned runs on eight hits, while also striking out two.
PCC 7, Central-Gilbert CC 6 (Game 2)
Sophomore Mackenzie Judge came up to bat in the bottom of the sixth inning with bases loaded and Pima losing 6-4. She belted a bases clearing double into the outfield giving the Aztecs the lead for good. She would finish the game 2 for 3 with five RBI’s.
Castillo grabbed the victory in relief after she pitched the final two and ⅓ innings giving up two hits.
Game 5 (Jan. 26): PCC 8, College of Southern Idaho 21 F/5
The Aztecs got off to a horrible start in this game, allowing eight runs in the first inning, forcing the team to play catch-up right out the gates. Later, the Aztecs allowed 11 runs in the fourth inning.
Even with a massive hill to climb, the Aztecs gave it a run with Alese Casper, Mackenzie Judge and freshman Ariana Ruiz, who each had two RBIs. Devynn Marshall took the mound and allowed 6 earned runs on 2 hits and 3 walks, in 2/3 innings.
Game 4 (Jan. 26): PCC 12, Snow College 5
The Aztecs jumped out to a three-run lead in the first inning, but the Badgers soon replied with 4 runs in the third. However, Pima gave a swift counter with 3 more in the bottom of both the third and fourth innings.
Sophomore Alizea Durazo-Corday went 2 for 5 with five RBIs and a two-run homer in the fifth inning. Freshman Abril Nerey got the victory after pitching a complete game allowing 5 earned runs on 10 hits, while striking out three.
Game 3 (Jan. 25): PCC 8, Utah State University-Eastern 9 F/7
Pima lost a heartbreaker after allowing the Golden Eagles to win the game on a walk-off home run. Down 5 to 2 in the third inning, the Aztecs came back and tied the game, and eventually took a one-run lead in the fifth inning.
However in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, Utah State Eastern tacked on 3 more runs to take an 8-to-6 lead. The Aztecs gave themselves a jolt in the top of the seventh after tying the game. However, the pulse immediately went flat after the walk-off home run.
Marshall went 3 for 5 with three RBIs while also scoring a run. Alese Casper was 3 for 3 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. She also took the loss on the mound after coming on in relief. She pitched two and 1/3 innings, giving up 2 earned runs on 4 hits.
Game 2 (Jan. 25): PCC 2, Salt Lake CC 12 F/5
After allowing 9 runs in the first inning, Pima truly needed a miracle. That prayer, however, wasn’t answered. The offense just wasn’t there for the Aztecs as the bats stayed home.
Marshall was on the mound and took the loss after pitching only 1/3 inning and allowing 7 earned runs on 5 hits.
Game 1 (Jan. 25): PCC 13, College of Southern Nevada 2 F/5
When you score a run in every inning, there is great shot you will win the game, and that’s just what the Aztecs did. Marshall and Casper again led the offense as they went a combined 6 for 8, with a home run, 6 RBIs and 3 runs scored.
Bianca Castillo was the winning pitcher on the day for Pima, after pitching a complete game. She allowed 1 earned run on 5 hits, while striking out 5.