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BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

BASEBALL: Inconsistency plaguing Pima at end of season

By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (18-28, 9-25 ACCAC) has seen better days this  season.

In their game against Paradise Valley CC, April 18, both sophomore Miguel Figueroa and head coach James Hisey were ejected after arguing with the umpires about a call.

April 8: PCC 5, AWC 11/ PCC 4, AWC 9

The Aztecs faced an early deficit at West Campus in game one of a doubleheader against Arizona Western College.

Down 6-0 after the first inning, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a leadoff two-run home run to cut the deficit. Sophomore Shawn Bracamontes later dinged another two-run home run, bringing another Aztec in.

“We just need to make adjustments,” assistant coach Ernie Durazno said of the 11-5 loss. “We’ll get them next game.”

In game two, the Aztec offense came out hot, grabbing a quick early lead, but had no answers when the Matadors brought in six runs.

Migueles tried to spark his teammates for a comeback, hitting another two-run home run. However, the Matadors continued to bring in runs and pushed the score out of reach.

April 15: PCC 3, Mesa CC 2 / PCC 3, Mesa CC 4

Sophomore Anthony Felix got the ball rolling in the first game of the series with a two-run RBI in the top of the second inning.

Migueles locked up the win with a moon-shot home run in the seventh.

Freshman Jose Contreras was on the mound for the win, going for six and one-third innings while forfeiting one earned run, off seven hits, with five strikeouts.

In the second game, it took extra innings to declare a winner.

Down 0-3, the Aztec’s rally began with Felix getting another two-run RBI, the game was tied off a wild pitch.

The Aztecs rally was shut down as the game was won off an error committed by the Aztecs in the bottom of the 11.

April 18: PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7 / PCC 3, Paradise Valley CC 7

After the Paradise Valley Pumas got an early lead, the Aztecs tied the game in the bottom of the first inning, but the Pumas bounced back with two home runs in the third and fourth.

Freshman Austin Treadwell attempted  a rally, but was halted by the Pumas. Figueroa took the loss, only pitching two and one-third innings. He had one strikeout and a walk.

The second game started with the Aztecs getting an early lead, but the game ultimately fell to the same score as game one.

Sophomore Andres Hackman took the loss, giving up five runs on four hits, with four strike outs and three walks.

You have to climb to be king of the rock

You have to climb to be king of the rock

If you come from a different part of the country or even spent significant time out of town, you can appreciate the mountain views in every direction we Tucsonans get to enjoy year round.

At the same time, it would be a shame to let the mountains remain simply a distant view from the city. The best thing you can do is get up close and personal with them.

Indoor climbing facilities can give you a taste of the action or help keep you in shape, but nothing can replicate the feeling of being body to boulder with Mother Nature as the wind blows through your hair while you scale the wall.

Rock climbing is physically taxing on your body and stamina is a necessity for making it to the top. You must plan your attack as well, because it’s not all in the arms.

Just within the 30 miles of Catalina Highway, there are thousands of routes for climbers. There are more access points through Catalina State Park along Oracle Road. Mountainproject.com contains a list of climbs in the area and is a reliable source for info.

Are you an adrenaline junky looking for new fixes? Tucson’s unique weather offers more than 300 days of sunshine per year, providing an opportunity to climb in every season and during all parts of the day.

REI or Summit Hut can provide the equipment you need. Rocks and Ropes offers package deals, as well as outdoor guided trips if booked two weeks in advance.

The gear you’ll need will cost you upfront but once you have the basics you can climb to your heart’s desire. Those basics include climbing shoes, rope, a harness, carabiners and a belay device that ensures safe ascent and descent.

2017 has been dubbed the year for going places you’ve never been. Get to climbing and you’ll be king soon enough.

GOLF: Women take 2nd at Paradise Valley Invitational

By DAVID SKINNER

The Pima Community College teams will have the chance to compete in the NJCAA Division I championship in Garden City, Kansas, on May 5.

 

MEN’S TEAM

April 9-10: PCC invitational

The Aztecs finished just two strokes behind Mesa Community College and eight strokes behind South Mountain Community College, which ended up taking home the tournament title. Sophomore Colton Gage led the way for the Aztecs as he finished tied for sixth place overall by shooting one-over-par 141 over the 36 holes. Freshman Johnny Fiore shot a two day score of 142 (67-75).

April 17-18: Paradise Valley CC Invitational 

The Aztecs closed out regular season play by finishing in fourth place with a two day score of 591, (291-300).

Mesa CC took home the title.Four Aztecs ended up tying for 14th place in the individual standings.

Sophomores Jonah Daniels, Derek Lozier, and freshmen Cooper Cordova and Gage all finished with a two day score of 148. Lozier and Cordova shared the same split, shooting 71 the first day and 77 the second day.

Gage was the opposite, shooting 77 the first day and 71 the second.

 

WOMEN’S TEAM

April 17-18: Paradise Valley CC Invitational

In the last invitational of the season, the PCC women’s team finished second overall after struggling the first round.

Sophomore Desiree Hong took second place, shooting 87 the first day, but then came back to finish five over par the second day (87-76).

Fellow sophomore Samantha Hacker had an 11-stroke improvement from her first day (95-84). She finished eighth.

TENNIS: Avalos and Ton take the doubles title

TENNIS: Avalos and Ton take the doubles title

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

After both of Pima Community College teams closed out regular season play, they then went to play in the regional tournament at the Paseo Rcquet Center in Glendale.

MEN’S TEAM

April 6: PCC 9, Glendale CC 0

In the final regular season home match, the men’s tennis team (4-3, 3-3 ACCAC) dominated its opponents.

Sophomores Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton swept both singles and doubles matches, 6-0, 6-0 for the singles match and 8-0 for the doubles match.

Sophomore Dalton Reisig also earned a shutout victory against the Gaucho’s, 6-0, 6-0. With the help of freshman Francisco Sotelo, he took another sweep victory in the No. 2 doubles,  8-0.

 

April 11: PCC 5, Paradise Valley 4

On the road for one more regular season game, the Aztecs come back home with a final win.

Avalos, slotted as the No.1 singles player, beat his opponent in a tight first set 7-5, 6-3.

Sotelo earned his win after losing his first set, but would come back to clinch the match in the tiebreaker and second set 7-6 (8-6), 7-5.

In No. 6 singles, Kaila earned his win after a dominating first set, 6-0, 6-2.

For doubles, Resieg and Sotelo earned a win over the No. 2 doubles opponent, 8-6.

 

April 18: Regional I Tournament

The men’s team had a strong start to their post-season play. Avalos and Ton took the No. 1 doubles title. They lost the first game but rallied back to take the win against Mesa Community College, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Avalos however dropped his No. 1 singles match, 6-3, 6-2. Sotelo fell in his No. 4 singles 6-1, 6-2. Kaila also lost his match in a sweep at the No. 6 singles slot, 0-6, 0-6.

 

WOMEN’S TEAM

April 6: PCC 7, Glendale CC 2

With their final home matches approaching, the Aztecs (5-4, 4-4 ACCAC) are on the road for one last time against the Glendale Guacho’s.

Freshman Emma Oropeza, had the No. 1 singles slot, but lost to her opponent 6-2, 6-4.

In No. 2 and No. 3 singles, freshmen Janine Fernando and Lien Nguyen respectively, both won their matches 6-0, 6-1.

Freshman Jayme Shafer shut out her No. 5 singles match, 6-0, 6-0.

In the doubles matches, Oropeza and Fernando took dominated the No. 1 match, 8-1.

No. 2 doubles, Nguyen and sophomore Dana Pride lost their match, 8-3.

 

April 11: PCC 7, Paradise Valley 2

In their final game of the home season, the women’s team stays at home to take a dominating win over the Puma’s.

In the No. 1 slot, Oropeza dominated with a score of 6-1, 6-1.

Fernando, taking the No. 2 singles match, also showed poise as she won her sets 6-2, 6-0.

Nguyen earned her win in her No. 3 singles match with a score of 6-0, 6-2.

Shafer also beat out her competition in the No. 5 singles slot, 6-3, 7-5.

Oropeza and Fernando continued winning when they took the No. 2 win as well with a 8-2 victory.

Ngyuen and Ochoa would also take away a win in their doubles matches, 8-6.

 

April 18: Region I Tournament

All PCC women’s tennis members did not make it to a finals spot.

 

Marc Avalos and Francisco Ton won the No. 1 doubles title at the Region I Tournament.

Sports briefs

Sports briefs

Compiled by Nicholas Trujillo

With the winter season ending and the spring seasons already well underway, Pima Community College has had many student-athletes earn awards for their efforts in the season. Others have accepted offers from universities.

 

Stallworth earns top rank for second time

This year marks the second year in a row that sophomore basketball star Sydni Stallworth was named first-team NJCAA Division II All-American. She is one of only three PCC women to receive the honor.

She also received, and accepted an offer to play at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

In the past two years, the university had win-loss records that mirrored PCC’s team. The 2014-’15 season was 29-2, and the 2015-’16 team had a  38-3 record.

Stallworth was a major player on the PCC court, leading the Aztecs to a second-place finish in the Region I Division II tournament. She averaged 17 points and 4.7 rebounds per game, while also shooting  81 percent at the free throw line.

Additionally, she was also named the ACCAC Division II Player of the Year for the second year in a row, as well as ACCAC Division II player of the week seven times during the season. She ends her career at PCC with a record of 51-16.

 

James, Aztec MVP, first-team All-American

Men’s basketball sophomore standout Deion James also received his share of glory. He was named first-team NJCAA All-American. He is the fifth Pima player to earn the honor, and the second to receiving it under head coach Brian Peabody.

Jame was also named Spalding NJCAA Division II Player of the Year and ACCAC Co-Player of the Year.

During the season, James was the powerhouse who got the Aztecs to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. He was named Region I, Divison II Championship game MVP.

He also led the Aztecs to a 22-win season, PCC’s best since the 1989-90 team.

While averaging 20.6 points per game, James also picked up 20 double-doubles in points and rebounds.

In his first year of college basketball, James played at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. As of now, James has not decided where he will go to continue his career.

 

Sophomore duo sign with Stephen F. Austin

Pima Community College women’s softball team sophomore duo Margarita Corona and Courtney Brown have signed to play at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

The Lumberjacks are in Division I for the NCAA and are sporting a 15-26 record so far this season.

Corona, a 5-foot-3-inch catcher, played in all 51 games this season. She has a .487 batting average and has 14 home runs and 77 RBIs. She also leads the team with 76 hits and 20 doubles.

Brown, who plays outfielder and is a lead-off hitter, bats with a .426 batting average. She has hit four home runs and 25 RBIs.

Brown also leads the team with 20 stolen bases, eight triples and 63 runs scored.

The two signed their letters of intent to the university on April 13. They will also be honored at the celebration that PCC is holding at the West Campus.

 

Ruiz signs to West Texas A&M

Sophomore Mari Ruiz will mark PCC softball team’s third player to get signed to a university. The Aztec outfield will further her career at West Texas A&M, a NCAA Division II school in Canyon, Texas.

The school held the national title in 2014 when a former Pima player was on their roster. This season they also hold former PCC pitcher Alexis Alfonso.

Ruiz took part in 35 games this season, she has 11 RBIs, 29 runs scored while batting and a .258 batting average. She transferred to Pima after playing for Phoenix College for one year.

 

Hong takes ACCAC POTY for second year in a row

Sophomore Desiree Hong has earned herself the ACCAC Player of the Year title for her second year in a row. She was also select as first team All-ACCAC conference and first Team All-Region.

Hong averaged a 74.8 per round played, she also shot a 71 or under for seven of her 12 rounds played.

She also was able to finish at least second place in all tournaments she participated in. She has also verbally committed to the University of Arizona next fall.

Fellow Sophomore Samantha Hacker was named second team All-ACCAC for her second straight year. Freshman Abby Miller also took second team All-Region.

 

PCC to celebrate athletes at West Campus

PCC will celebrate its athletes, and many others, on May 8 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the West Campus Arts Proscenium Theatre, 2202 W. Anklam Road.

Both coaches and representatives from the winter and spring season teams will talk about team and individual accomplishments.

Basketball players Jacob Anastasi and Erin Peterson are set to receive the Lawrence R. Toledo Leadership Award.

To RSVP or for more info about the celebration, email April Jessee at ajessee@pima.edu or Raymond Suarez at rmsuareaz1@pima.edu by May 3.

Margarita Corona

Courtney Brown

Deion James

Sydni Stallworth

ATHLETIC VOICE: Raise NBA age limit

ATHLETIC VOICE: Raise NBA age limit

By RENE ESCOBAR

As the men’s college basketball season ends, work for the players is just beginning. The dreams for these athletes is starting to become a reality.

The National Basketball Association has begun sending invitations to the nation’s top prospects to attend the combine where scouts, coaches, and general managers find their next franchise player.

Most of the athletes are under the age of 21, and some are as young as 18. Should a player who is not old enough to buy alcohol be able to become a professional athlete?

I understand the lure of fulfilling a lifelong dream to play in the NBA while making millions of dollars.

However, key factors must be taken into consideration.

The NBA is giving multi-million dollar contracts to teenagers Last year, No. 1 pick Ben Simmons signed a contract that guarantees him $3.9 million at age 19.

Although Simmons has not made headlines for the wrong reasons, a lot of players fall prey to the root of all evil, money.

It can over take a career, especially at an early age. Fame and fortune brings distractions and for a professional athlete, that is a career killer.

There’s another reason why the NBA should raise the age limit. Most young players are simply not ready for professional ball.

Of the 60 picks in the NBA draft, 15 prospects on average are one-and-done collegiate players.

Of those 15 players, about three will become NBA starters. The rest will be cut or play overseas.

Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft, provides a clear example of a player who was not ready for the pros. Bennett bounced around in the NBA and is now playing in Turkey.

The one-and-done college trend also hurts the athletes who receive full-ride scholarships. They are throwing away an education that other kids would kill for.

When players leave school early, they lose a tool that will last forever. Football, baseball and basketball does not last forever. What’s going to happen to athletes who get injured or become a bust? There’s nothing to fall back on.

An education for an athlete should be more important than a draft pick.

An education can provide stability for when sport is over.

 

 

 

TRACK AND FIELD: A long (jump) and winding road

TRACK AND FIELD: A long (jump) and winding road

By EDDIE CELAYA

Standing nearly 6 feet tall with stunning red hair, sophomore Hannah Bartz is used to standing out in a crowd. Put her on the track and she doesn’t just stand out; she races to the front of the pack.

“We were always pretty fast in elementary school,” Bartz said of herself and her equally fast, just as brightly redheaded sisters. “We were always the fastest girls in the school.”

Thus began the story for Bartz, the third of four daughters. Her mother, a middle-distance runner, and her father, a football lineman, met in college at Utah State. As children, the Bartz girls showed early athletic promise.

They played “almost every sport,” Bartz said. “We all played soccer for a long time. We got into running and track and stuff in middle school and high school.”

Her first track meet in middle school hinted at her prodigious talent. It also made for great laughs.

“The one thing I remember most, it was really embarrassing,” Bartz said. “They put me in the 200 meter and I had never run it. I thought you could switch lanes, and so I did. I almost got disqualified but it didn’t matter because I was so far ahead of everyone.”

Hijinks aside, Bartz continued to run sprints and picked up jumping events in high school at Marana Mountain View.

Unlike some of her peers, Bartz took the sport seriously. She finished her senior year with silver medals in the  long jump and 100-meter dash at the Arizona 4A state championship. In both events, the eventual champion went on to break state records.

“It was actually more encouraging,” she said of the defeats. “I was really excited. I knew I could do more and more great things.”

At first, Bartz hoped to attend a four-year university out of high school. Because there was limited interest from big Division I schools, she considered giving up the sport.

“Pima was the only college that offered me anything and really wanted me to come to compete,” she said. “So I was like, ‘all right.’”

Attending Pima Community College brought Bartz in contact with her current jumps coach and PCC’s recruiting coordinator, Chad Harrison.

She credits Harrison with bringing her times down and her jump up.

“We have never had an athlete like Hannah before,” Harrison said during a recent practice. “We’ve never had an athlete as strong as Hannah, as fast as Hannah, who can jump like Hannah.”

Harrison “has actually helped me get a lot stronger and get more of the technique that I really need to get those distances in long jump,” Bartz said.

Bartz says coaching helped her win silver at the National Junior College Athletics Association Indoor Nationals

meet in March.

“The fourth, third and second positions were all bunched at like mid-18 feet,”Bartz said.

It came down to her last jump. “All I needed was to pop a 19-footer, and I was golden,” she said.

She jumped 19 feet, 1.25 inches. While her specialty is in jumps, Bartz has made a splash in sprints this season. At

the Aztec Indoor Invitational, she won the 60-meter dash in a school record time of 7.79 seconds.

A week later, Pima sophomore Amber McCroskey lowered Bartz’s mark to 7.78 seconds.

At the NJCAA Indoor Nationals, Bartz ran a 7.73. McCroskey ran a 7.72. The rivalry between the two isn’t exactly

Carl Lewis versus Ben Johnson, but it’s there.

“We are really good friends,” Bartz said, before adding, “Having Amber to push me is really nice.”

With NJCAA Outdoor Nationals scheduled for May 18 in Hutchinson, Kansas, Bartz finds herself practicing and lifting more.

“On the jumps end we are up, we go and do our jump technique stuff and that takes a couple hours,” she said.

All of that preparation can make for late nights. “We usually go home on Mondays and Tuesdays around 9:30 or 10 p.m.,” she said.

Still, Bartz knows the hard work is paying off. She recently visited Idaho State University for a recruiting trip.

“The offer is on the table for a full ride, so it’s a very big option,” she said. “But I still have some other schools I’m looking at right now.”

Harrison sees Bartz more than holding her own at the next level.

“Because of the way it works for meets now, we already compete against four-year schools,” he said. “She is still getting stronger, and her technique is improving.”

Before her time at Pima is up, Bartz still has a few goals she wants to accomplish. Her major, elementary education, is helping set her up for life off the track.

“I already know I want to be an elementary school teacher,” she said.

Eddie Celaya/Aztec Press Sophomore Hannah Bartz shows her form for sprints during practice at West Campus.

Her goals for the track seem just as certain. “I know I can break the outdoor 200-meter record for here, and I think it’s 24.8,” she said. “I think I got that.”

TRACK AND FIELD: Pima jumpers sweep meet

TRACK AND FIELD: Pima jumpers sweep meet

 By KATELYN ROBERTS

After a home meet at the Willie Williams Invitational, Pima Community College track and field hits the road until April 8.

 March 23-25: Puma Outdoor Meet

WOMEN’S

Freshman Alyssa Watkins took third with her hammer throw, setting a mark of 155 feet, 1 inch.

Watkins earned an outdoor national qualifier mark. Freshman Rhiannon Bearup qualified nationally with her time of 1 minute 6.64 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing third.

Freshman Megan Shiffmacher earned third place with a jump of 5 feet, 6 inches.

 MEN’S

Sophomore David Fernandez earned a national qualifier in the 10,000-meter race, taking seventh with a time of 32:56.12.

 April 1: Arizona Community College Athletic Conference

PCC finished in second place, ahead of Glendale Community College, Mesa Community College and Paradise Valley Community College, but behind Central Arizona College.

“Our goal is to win all six jumps at the regional championships, and to my knowledge that has never been done in school history,” Pima jumps coach Chad Harrison said.

 WOMEN’S

Sophomore Hannah Bartz took first place in long jump with 18 feet, 4.75 inches and first in triple jump with a 36-foot mark. Schiffmacher placed first in high jump at 5 feet, 4.25 inches.

In the 400-meter hurdles, sophomore Melissa Cotsonas finished with a national qualifying time of 1:06.17.

 MEN’S

Sophomore Sam Shoultz took first in high jump at 6 feet, 10.5 inches. Fellow sophomore Treyshon Malone took first in long jump at 23 feet, 7.5 inches. Freshman Cam Duffy won the triple jump at 47 feet, 7.5 inches.

Competing in the 100-meter hurdles, sophomore Alex Palacios took first with a time of 15.28 seconds.

ON DECK

April 6-8: Sun Angel Classic at Arizona State University, Tempe, 10 a.m.

Nicholas Trujillo/Aztec Press Freshman James Sather gears up for an attempt at the javelin toss in the field events at the Willie Williams Invitational on March 18.

April 8: Aztec Classic Invitational, West Campus, 10 a.m.

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

BASEBALL: Baseball struggles to find constant wins

 By RENE ESCOBAR

The Pima Community College baseball team (17-23, 8-20 AC CAC) has ridden an up and down wave as they split twice and lost twice in a row

March 25: PCC 10, South Mountain 9/ PCC 8, South Mountain 9

The Aztecs won in extra innings in a high-drama match up at South Mountain.

Freshman Jesus Solis drew a lead-off walk at the top of the 10 inning, and  fellow freshman Marcus Mendez reached base on an error to bring Solis home for a run.

Sophomore Manny Ramirez hit  a two-run home run to tie game one at 2-2 in the fourth. After South Mountain  regained the lead, sophomore Anthony Felix tied the game again in the fifth with a two-run RBI double.

Sophomore Miguel Figueroa  hit a solo home run to put the Aztec at 7-4 in the sixth inning. In game two, the  Aztecs surrendered a 7-3 lead as South Mountain came back in the seventh innings to steal the win.

The Cougars matched Pima’s lone run, then scraped ahead to a  3-1 lead in the second. In the fourth inning sophomore Oscar Larranaga brought four runs in with a grand slam.

March 28: PCC 0, Eastern Arizona, 8/ PCC, 3 Eastern Arizona 2

Pima split a doubleheader against Eastern Arizona.

Disappointment was evident throughout game one as the Aztecs managed only three hits.

Figueroa took the loss. He pitched four innings giving up five earned runs on eight hits,  with one strikeout.

Game two was a defensive stalemate until the bottom of the ninth. Freshman Martin Garcia came up big with a  walk-off single to win the game.

Earlier in the game, Migueles opened the game with an RBI  double.

April 1: PCC 2, Cochise College 3/ PCC 3, Cochise College 5

Aztec rallies were cut short on the road at Cochise.

Trailing in the sixth inning of game one, the Aztecs cut into the lead, but fell short of the win. Sophomore Trevelle Hill took the loss after five innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, with two strikeouts.

Sophomore Anthony Felix grounded out to end the rally and the game. Freshman Greg O’Brien took the loss tossing four and one-third innings, giving up three runs with seven strikeouts.

April 4: PCC 6, Central Arizona 7/ PCC 6, Central Arizona 7

After starting game one in a tight 2-2 battle by fifth inning, Pima was able to take the lead by one until Central Arizona scored five runs in the top of the six to make the score 7-3.

Their rally fizzled out in the seventh inning when bases were loaded with one out and an Aztec was struck out.

Figuero took the loss, he pitched five and two-thirds innings giving up six runs, two strikeouts and five walks.

Game two had the Aztecs down 5-0, until the fifth and sixth innings when the lead was cut to 7-4. After drawing three straight  walks in the eighth Figueroa hit a two-run RBI single.

Rene Escobar/Aztec Press Freshman Martin Garcia eyes pitch during game against Eastern Arizona on March. 28 at West Campus field.

Freshman Jose Contreras took the loss as he pitched three innings, giving up three runs, one strikeout and two walks.

ON DECK

April 8: at Arizona Western College, Yuma, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 15: at Mesa, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

April 18: vs. Paradise Valley, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2:30 p.m.

ATHLETIC VOICE: Men's team back on map

ATHLETIC VOICE: Men’s team back on map

 By CASEY MUSE JR.

There are many lessons to be learned from the men’s basketball team this past season. The most important: Never give up, no matter what the situation.

This motto was building for the Aztecs before the season even started. The program viewed itself as a long shot to land hometown player Deion James, who was coming back after one year of Division I basketball in North Carolina.

Head coach Brian Peabody noticed James working out on campus over the summer and offered him a spot on the team. James happily accepted the opportunity to stay home and be the difference on a winning team.

Boom. Never give up, right?

The Aztecs blew out non-conference opponents, and their newcomer looked like a star in the making at the junior  college level. The team seemed confident heading into conference play.

That confidence continued through early conference play as Pima continued to win. Then mid-January happened.

The Aztecs suffered a three-game losing streak. Things weren’t going their way for the first time all season.

Oh yeah. Never give up, remember?

Pima began running its offense around Deion, and it worked. He accumulated well over a dozen double doubles and seemed to have a different university scouting him every week.

The Aztecs won eight of their next 11 games and looked like a lock for the regional tournament. Everything was going smoothly once again. Then, during a road game against Mesa, sophomore starting point guard Zach Evans suffered a season-ending leg injury.

Point guard is arguably the most important position on the court, and Evans led the team in assists. This was the most devastating blow that Pima experienced all season.

It did not look good, but the Aztecs didn’t give up.

Freshman Alize Travis stepped into the starting role. He helped lead the Aztecs to their first regional tournament title since 2009 and then on to the national tournament in Illinois. This alone was an amazing accomplishment for a program that was supposed to be rebuilding.

Pima basketball has seen dark days in recent years, but there has been steady improvement every season since Peabody took over as head coach.

The Aztecs embodied their motto once more at the national tournament, when they won in the first round against a team that was practically playing a home game.

In the next round, Pima fell by six points to the No.1 seed in the country but played the team closer than many believed they would. I am so proud to have had an opportunity

to watch this team all season long.

We should all admire the way the Aztecs grew together, fought through adversity and never gave up. Basketball is back on the map, and inspiring students to keep fighting.

Casey Muse Jr., Aztec Press sports editor

TENNIS: Esquer still building program

TENNIS: Esquer still building program

By NICHOLAS TRUJILLO

With the Pima Community College tennis squads completing the first half of their season, head coach Ian Esquer will gear up his teams for the NJCAA Region I Tournament at Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale, Arizona.

“For the amount of time we have been practicing, they’ve done a good job of stepping up to the plate and competing against all kinds of teams,” Esquer said.

 MEN’S TEAM

March 23: Pima 3, Paradise Valley CC 6 

The Aztecs (2-3, 1-3 ACCAC) took a tough loss against the Pumas while playing on their home court at the West Campus.

Sophomore Mark Avalos won his singles and doubles matches. Avalos beat his No. 1 singles opponent 6-4, 6-1.

Fellow sophomore Francisco Ton paired with Avalos to win a tiebreaker doubles match 9-8, (7-2).

 March 29: PCC 2, Mesa CC 7

After packing their bags for another competition on the road, the Aztecs dropped seven matches to the Thunderbirds.

In the No. 1 doubles competition, sophomore duo Avalos and Ton lost their match, 8-2. Reisig was the only Aztec to put up a fight against his No. 3 singles dropping the match 6-4, 6-2.

 

 WOMEN’S TEAM

March 23: PCC 7, Paradise Valley CC 2

On the road, Pima (3-4, 2-4 ACCAC) took a different turn as the women’s team was able to give the Pumas a defeat on the Paradise Valley CC campus.

Freshman Jayme Shafer won her No. 5 singles after playing a close second set, 6-1, 7-5. Freshmen Emma Oropeza and Janine Fernando both won their No. 1 and No. 2 singles matches respectively.

Oropeza won in dominating fashion, 6-1, 6-0, while Fernando won her match in the same fashion, 6-0, 6-1.

 March 28: PCC 3, Eastern Azona 6

PCC faced a tough match as they played the No. 22 Eastern Arizona College. The No. 2 doubles duo freshman

Lien Nguyen and sophomore Dana Pineda got the 8-1 win against the opposing Gila Monsters doubles team.

The No. 1 doubles duo Oropeza and Fernando dropped their match 8-5.

Freshmen Shafer and Elise Rodriguez both picked up their No. 5 and No. 6 singles matches, respectively. Shafer fought a tough first set and came out on top, winning 7-5, 6-4.

 March 29: PCC 0, Mesa CC 9

After playing the No. 22 ranked team in the nation, the Aztecs schedule amped up the difficulty level to play the No. 11 ranked Thunderbirds.

Shafer, who took the No. 5 singles spot, played a tough second set but ultimately fell to her opponent 6-0, 6-4.

ON DECK

MEN’S

April 11: at Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, 1:30 p.m.

WOMEN’S

April 11: vs. Paradise Valley CC, West Campus, 1:30 p.m.

GOLF: Hong swings in first

GOLF: Hong swings in first

By DAVID W. SKINNER

As the post-season approaches, the Pima Community College men’s golf team will host a home invitational on April 9-10 at the Silverbell Golf Course.

Meanwhile, the PCC’s women’s golf team will pack their bags for a two-day event at Paradise Valley.

MEN’S TEAM

The Pima Community College men’s golf team placed fifth at the South Mountain Invitational as freshman Derek Lozier had his breakout performance of the season.

Lozier tied for fifth place when he moved up seven spots after his fianl round of play. He shot two-over par, 144 (73-71). He is also the third Aztec to have tied for fifth place this season.

The two-day tournament took place March 28 and 29 at the scenic Legacy Golf Resort in Phoenix.

Sophomore Colton Gage tied for 14, shooting five-over par, 147 (73-74).

Freshman Johnny Fiore placed 19, with his won two day score of 149 (75-74).

Fellow Freshman Cooper Cordova tied 26, shooting for 152 (76-76).

 WOMEN’S TEAM

With the season coming to a close, the Aztecs hosted their own invitational. At the Dell Urich Golf Course, three of the top six spots were

taken by PCC players. The Aztecs took second place with a two-day total of 662 (333- 329)

Mesa Community College took first with a two-day score of 641 (330-311) Sophomores Desiree Hong and

Samantha Hacker and freshman Abby Miller all took home medals for the Aztecs.

The invitational marks Hong’s second win, as she shot one-over par in Monday’s round of golf.

She then came back to shoot a two-under par, 68. She won the individual tournament by 10 strokes.

Miller finished in fourth, shooting 76 in the final round, a season best for the freshman.

ON DECK

MEN’S

April 9-10: PCC Invitational, Silverbell Golf Course, 11 a.m.

WOMEN’S

April 17-18: Paradise Valley CC Invitational, Gainey Ranch Golf Club, Scottsdale, 12:30 p.m.

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

SOFTBALL: Pima trying to find winning consistency

By CASEY MUSE JR. 

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow makes contact on a swing against a Central Arizona Vaqueras during their make-up game at home on March 9.
Casey Muse Jr./Aztec Press

The Pima Community College softball team (25-12, 19-9 conference) has been playing well in March and has found consistency in several aspects of the game.

March 4: PCC 4, Phoenix 10/ PCC 1, Phoenix 12

The No. 18 Aztecs fell behind 4-0 early in the first game against the No. 2 Bears. They cut into the lead by scoring three runs in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Bailey Critchlow took the loss as she pitched four and two-third innings, finishing with 10 hits and three walks.

Phoenix College jumped out early in the second game, scoring five runs in the first inning. Sophomore Luisa Silvain took the loss. She finished with four hits, one strikeout and one walk.

March 7: PCC 15, Ancilla 1/ PCC 21, Ancilla 2

Pima got back on track in a big way in a double-header against Ancilla College at the Tucson Invitational at Lincoln Park.

The first game saw the Aztecs score five runs in the first inning, then seven more in the fourth.

Freshman Mandy Lorenson earned the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with two hits and 12 strikeouts.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored four runs in the first inning and another 10 runs in the fourth.

Freshman Hannah Wood picked up the win, pitching all five innings. She finished with seven hits and two strikeouts.

March 9: PCC 5, Central Arizona 7

The Aztecs saw their late rally attempt fall short in a makeup game at home.

Pima struck first on a sacrificefly RBI in the first inning. Things got away from the Aztecs when the Vaqueras scored five unanswered runs for a 7-2 lead.

Critchlow took the loss, pitching three innings. She finished with 11 hits and two strikeouts.

March 11: PCC 4, Paradise Valley 8/ PCC 13, Paradise Valley 5

The first game was tight until the Pumas busted it open with seven runs in the sixth.

Silvain took the loss. She pitched four innings and finished with eight hits and one strikeout.

The Aztecs earned revenge in the second game, scoring four runs in the first inning, two in the second and four more in the sixth.

Lorenson got the win. She pitched two innings and finished with two strikeouts and six walks.

March 14: PCC 6, South Mountain 1/ PCC 8, South Mountain 0

Critchlow pitched one of her best performances of the year, so far, in the first game. She pitched the complete game, finishing with one run, five hits and two strikeouts. The offense put up six runs.

The second game was even more dominant as Aztecs scored eight runs.

Lorenson provided her best pitching performances of the season as well, finishing with no hits, three strikeouts and four walks.

March 16: PCC 14, Chandler-Gilbert 1/ PCC 20, Chandler-Gilbert 1

In the first game, Pima scored four runs in the second, fourth, and fifth for a mercy-rule win.

Critchlow earned her 10th win, pitching all five innings and finishing with seven hits.

In the second game, the Aztecs scored 10 runs in the first and eight in the second one. Lorenson tossed her second straight no-hitter for her fifth win.

March 18: PCC 10, AWC 7/ PCC 5, AWC 4

Pima took an early lead in the first game, scoring four runs in the first inning.

The Matadors scored three runs of their own in the fourth to cut the lead to one. The Aztecs put the game away with six runs in the fourth.

Critchlow earned another victory, finishing with nine hits. The second game was extremely close throughout.

Arizona Western battled to a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning, but Pima freshman Alysa Talamante hit a game-winning walk-off RBI.

Lorenson pitched all eight innings and finished with 12 strikeouts and three walks.

March 21: PCC 6 Glendale 1/ PCC 20 Glendale 0

The Aztecs continued their winning streak with a conference sweep over Glendale on the road.

Freshman Megan Flores got things started for the offense with an RBI single in the first inning of the first game to help Pima take control.

Sophomore Margarita Corona got in on the action with an RBI double of her own in the third.

Critchlow earned the win pitching the complete game and finishing with eight hits and four strikeouts. Her record sits at 12-5 for the season.

Game two was even more dominant as PCC scored seven runs in the third inning and another 11 in the fourth inning on their way to 20 total runs and a mercy rule victory.


ON DECK

March 25: Mesa CC, West Campus, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

March 28: at Yavapai College, Prescott, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

April 1: at GateWay CC, Phoenix, doubleheader, noon, 2 p.m.

April 4: at Central Arizona, Coolidge, doubleheader, 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

BASEBALL: Aztecs continue fire and ice trend

BASEBALL: Aztecs continue fire and ice trend

By: Rene Escobar

The Pima Community College baseball team (15-17, 6-14 conference) has shown a fire-and-ice trend as the team starts out hot but cools off as the game wears on.

“It’s a long season,” sophomore catcher Shawn Bracamontes said. “We’ll figure it out.”

March 4: PCC 8, Glendale 9/ PCC 2 Glendale CC 6

The Aztecs dropped their fourth straight game in a nail biter.

Sophomore Anthony Felix hit a two-run double to tie the game 4-4 in the bottom of the third.

Sophomore Manny Ramirez gave the Aztecs a short-lived lead in the fourth inning after he hit an RBI single.

The Aztecs fought back in the seventh inning to tie the game once more. Sophomore Oscar Larranaga hit an RBI double that scored pinch runner Jared Kromminga.

Heading into the top of the 11th inning, the game was knotted at 8 to 8.

The Aztecs still had a shot heading into the bottom of the inning. However they left the tying run on third base in the bottom of the 11th inning.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Aztecs came out firing but lost momentum as the game played on.

March 7: PCC 2, GateWay 6/ PCC 1, GateWay 3

The first game was an offensive nightmare for the Aztecs, who scored two on four hits for the entire game.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the offensive struggles continued as the Aztecs managed one run on two hits. Aztec batters draw eight walks for the game.

March 11: PCC 2, Yavapai 4/ PCC 8, Yavapai 3

The Aztecs ended a sevengame free fall with a split in Prescott. Pima lost the first game of the doubleheader but won the second.

In game one, the Aztecs trailed early and were down by three in the third inning. They fought back in later innings but failed to take the lead, and managed just three hits for the game.

One swing broke the losing streak in game two.

With Pima trailing by two in the third, sophomore Erick Migueles hit a three-run homerun to spark his teammates.

“We needed it,” Echols said.

The Aztecs rode the energy given off by the homerun to add on another three runs in the fifth.

March 14: PCC 9, Monroe 2/ PCC 3, Monroe 7

The Aztecs drew first blood in the first inning, scoring three runs. They poured it on in the fourth to secure the lead for good.

The Aztecs drop the second game in a poor offensive performance, leaving 10 runners on base.

March 15: PCC 7, Mesa 3 The Aztecs took down No. 5

Mesa Community College in a makeup game from a rained-out exhibition on Feb. 18.

March 17: PCC 4, Madison 2

The Aztecs’ win streak continued as they defeated Madison at West Campus.

The team was down by two in the bottom of the sixth, but Migueles changed the complexion of the game with a triple to take the lead.

March 21: PCC 2, Scottsdale CC 6/ PCC 8, Scottsdale CC 4

The Artichokes took command in game one as they quickly amassed a 3-0 lead and widened it with three runs in the fifth.

Sophomore Miguel Figueroa took the loss, giving up six runs on seven hits, nine strike outs and two walks.

In game two, the Aztecs rallied to earn a split when Ramierz helped score three runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth.

Freshman Jose Contreras picked up the win giving up only four runs off seven hits, six strikeouts and two walks.

Photo by Rene Escobar

Redshirt freshman Austin Treadwell takes a pitch at West Campus against El Paso Community College

TRACK & FIELD: Shoultz first in high jump at championships

TRACK & FIELD: Shoultz first in high jump at championships

By Katelyn Roberts

After hosting their own indoor invitational, the Aztecs take to the road, with their next home meet on April 8.

NJCAA Indoor National Championships

The Aztecs headed to Pittsburg, Kansas, March 3 and 4, to compete in the NJCAA Indoor National Championships.

Sophomore Sam Shoultz placed first in high jump with 7 feet, 0.5 inches. Shoultz gained NJCAA All-American status.

Sophomore Hanna Bartz also earned NJCAA All-American honors and was the runner-up in the women’s long jump with 19 feet, 1.25 inches. The jump was Bartz’s personal best.

In the men’s distance relay, freshmen Victor Bustamante and Collin Dylla, and sophomores Alex Palacios and David Fernandez took seventh place with 10:30.96.

Sophomore Treyshon Malone took seventh in the long jump at 24 feet, 0.75 inches. Freshman Cam Duffy took eighth at 23 feet 7.25 inches.

Breaking Pima’s record in the 60-meter dash preliminary race, sophomore Amber McCroskey finished with a time of 7.72 second, beating her old record by 0.07 seconds.

Freshman Rhiannon Bearup also set a Pima record in the 60-meter hurdles preliminary race at 9.03 seconds.

McCrosey, Bearup, sophomore Melissa Cotsonas and freshman Tyra Yanez broke another their own PCC record in the 4×400 relay race with a time of 3:54.85, beating their old record by 6.65 seconds.

The men’s team finished in sixteenth place with 15 points, and the women’s team tied for twenty-first with eight points.

Willie Williams Invitational

Outdoor season began at the Willie Williams Invitational March 17 and 18. The UA hosted the meet at Roy P. Drachman Stadium.

Shoultz took first in the high jump with 5 feet 0.50 inches.

Malone took first in the long jump at 24 feet 0.50 inches, earning an outdoor national qualifier.

Duffy took second in long jump at 23 feet, 4.5 inches and third in triple jump with 46 feet, 4 inches.

The Yanez, Bartz, Bearup, McCroskey 4×100 relay team took fifth with a time of 47.88 seconds, earning a national qualifier.

With a jump of 5 feet, 5 inches, freshman Megan Shiffmacher took second in high jump and earned a national qualifier.

Pima only has two more meets before the ACCAC meet in Glendale on April 1.

      

Hannah Bartz & Samuel Shoultz

Photos courtesy of PCC Athletics