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New track star shows off speed

New track star shows off speed

By JAIME HERNANDEZ

Pima Community College athlete Kevin Lamont Snead has played football his entire life. It wasn’t until this spring that Snead decided to apply his talents to the track.

He had no idea that he could get this good so fast in a sport in which he’s never competed.

In only his second race, he ran the 100-meters in 10.61 seconds, which was good enough for fifth place all time in PCC history.

Snead’s hard work and positive attitude haven’t gone unnoticed.

“He’s a great teammate and person,” head track coach Greg Wenneborg said. “He has done some great things in such a short time. He has run a 10.6 in the 100-meters and will very likely run under 10.5 by the end of the year.”

A native of Richmond, Va., Snead has played football since he was 8 years old. He went on to become a football star at Clover Hill and George Wythe high schools in Virginia.

Snead didn’t accomplish everything he wanted to do while in high school, so he was forced to take the junior college route after graduation to continue his athletic career.

“The game speed is a lot faster and guys are a lot bigger than they were in high school,” he said.

When Snead came to PCC, he had to try out for the football team. He quickly got noticed when he clocked a 4.3 40-yard dash.

“ They’re aren’t that many kids that can run that fast,” head football coach Jim Monaco said.

“We tried to have special packages for him so we could maximize his talents and abilities,” the coach added.

Monaco quickly realized that Snead’s talents could also be used on the track team.

“Snead is blazing fast and I’m glad he’s found his niche with track because he’s very, very good,” Monaco said.

When times get hard, Snead turns to the support of his mother and grandmother.

They have always have been there for him in times of need, and give him the confidence and strength he needs to move forward.

The oldest of three, Snead feels the added pressure of being a positive role model for his two younger siblings.

“My brother right now is a starting slot receiver at Hermitage High School in Richmond, and my sister is in cheer,” he said. “They both look up to me a lot.”

Snead hopes to eventually earn a degree in sports medicine. It’s something he has always been interested in and something he feels he can be good at.

For now, however, he’s focusing on being the best runner he can be to help the Aztecs continue their success on the track.

Five universities are looking to give him a chance to continue his athletic career, three for football and two for track. Snead wants to keep the names of the schools to himself for now, so he doesn’t jinx anything.

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Jaime Hernandez/Aztec Press
Kevin Lamont Snead now lends his athletic
skill to Pima’s track team

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TENNIS: Aztecs begin second round in conference

TENNIS: Aztecs begin second round in conference

By ZACH AMENTA

The Pima Community College tennis teams have played each conference rival once, and will now play schools a second time.

 

Women face tough opponents   

The women lost 7-2 at Mesa Community College on April 3.

Sophomore Amy Beeston scored both wins for PCC. At No. 1 doubles, she paired with sophomore Cayla Cordova and won 8-5. At No. 1 singles she won 6-4, 6-2.

No. 2 doubles sophomore Helena Meyer and freshman Cassidy McWhorter lost 0-8.

At No. 3 doubles, sophomore Ashten Watts and freshman Yani Alameda lost a tough match 6-8.

In singles, PCC went 1-5.

No. 2 singles Cordova lost 0-6, 0-6, while No. 3 Meyer lost 2-6, 1-6. No. 4 singles Watts fell 0-6, 0-6, while No. 5 singles McWhorter lost 1-6, 0-6. No. 6 singles Alameda lost 2-6, 4-6.

On April 1, PCC lost at Eastern Arizona 9-0.

All three doubles teams lost.

No. 1 doubles Beeston and Cordova fell 2-8. No. 2 doubles Meyer and McWhorter fought but lost 6-8, while Watts and Alameda lost 4-8 at No. 3 doubles.

In singles play, PCC lost every match but competed to the end.

No. 1 singles Beeston lost 0-6, 0-6 and No. 2 singles Cordova lost 1-6, 0-6. No. 3 singles Meyer competed but fell 6-7 (5-7), 5-7.  No. 4 singles Watts battled for three sets but lost 6-3, 4-6, 8-10.

No. 6 singles Alameda followed Watts with a three-set match and lost 7-5, 5-7, 4-10. No. 5 singles McWhorter lost 1-6, 4-6.

“Mesa is a deep team from top to bottom,” coach Gretchen Schantz said. “Eastern is strong at the top.”

The women dominated Paradise Valley Community College at home March 27, winning 9-0.

The No. 1 doubles team, Beeston and Cordova, coasted 8-3. At No. 2 doubles, Meyer and McWhorter won 8-2.

The  No. 3 doubles, sophomore Ashten Watts and freshman Yani Alameda, dominated 8-0.

Singles play was no problem.

No. 1 singles Beeston won 6-1, 6-1, while Cordova won at No. 2 singles 6-3, 6-2. No. 3 singles Meyer cruised 6-1, 6-1.

Watts won at No. 4 singles 6-0, 6-0, and McWhorter won at No. 5 singles 6-2, 6-1.

Alameda continued her dominance at No. 6 singles, winning 6-0, 6-0.

“I would not trade my teammates for anything,” Beeston said. “They put their whole heart in the game and as a captain, that’s all I could ask for. We are Pima.”

 

Men rout and get routed

The men’s team lost 0-9 at home against Mesa on April 3.

In doubles play, No. 1 doubles sophomore Brian Soto and freshman Richie Foitik lost 5-8. No. 2 doubles freshmen Josh Henkel and Carlos Medina were blanked 0-8. No. 3 doubles freshmen Aldo Amaya and Trey Terry lost 2-8.

No. 1 singles Soto lost 2-6, 1-6 while Foitik lost at No. 2 singles 4-6, 0-6. No. 3 singles Henkel lost 0-6, 0-6 and Medina lost 1-6, 0-6 at No. 4 singles. No. 5 singles freshman Gabe Ortiz lost 0-6, 0-6 and Amaya suffered the same fate at No. 6 singles, falling 0-6, 0-6.

The men went on the road for the final time March 27 and won 9-0 in Phoenix against Paradise Valley Community College.

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Zach Armenta/Aztec Press
From left, Cayla Cordova, Amy Beeston, Richie Foitik and Brian Soto chat before a practice match

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BASEBALL: Pima splits Central Arizona doubleheader

BASEBALL: Pima splits Central Arizona doubleheader

By JOSE SANTIAGO III

The Pima Community College baseball team split its double header against Central Arizona College on April 8.

The split brought the Aztecs’ overall record to 27-18 and their conference record to 16-11, good for fifth in the ACCAC.

In the first game, Pima lost 12-1 as the offense managed just three hits. Freshman Ruben Bracamontes scored Pima’s only run on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.

Pima won the second game 2-1. Freshman Marcel Renteria pitched seven and one-third innings, racking up seven strikeouts while giving up one run.

On April 5, the Aztecs split a doubleheader against Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

Pima won the first game 2-1. Freshman Trey Stine hit a solo homerun to tie the game 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

Sophomore Kellen Marruffo hit the game-winning RBI in the ninth, scoring sophomore James Lynch.

The Aztecs dropped the second game 2-1.

The game was tied 1-1 in the third after Lynch scored on a throwing error. However, Pima couldn’t come back after Chandler-Gilbert scored an RBI sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Sophomore Ethan Rosebeck threw seven innings and gave up just two runs, but went home with his first loss of the season.

Pima split a doubleheader at Cochise College on April 1.

The Aztecs lost the first game 5-2. They were down 2-0 early but an RBI single from Lynch and a sacrifice fly by sophomore Juan Gamez tied the game in the third inning.

However, Pima didn’t score for the rest of the game.

Freshman pitcher Chris Kucko was tagged with the loss. He pitched five innings and gave up five runs.

In the second game, Pima erased a 6-0 deficit and came back in the last four innings to win 11-6.

Sophomore Devon Carrillo hit the game-tying RBI in the top of the seventh, scoring Stine. Gamez went 4 for 5 with two RBIs and two runs scored

Pima swept its doubleheader over Scottsdale Community College on March 29.

In the first game, sophomore Cole Plouck threw a complete-game shutout for a 1-0 victory. He went seven innings and had five strikeouts.

Pima’s score came in the third inning off a sacrifice fly from Marruffo, scoring Stine.

The second game took 11 innings to finish but the Aztecs managed a 6-5 win.

Pima was trailing 5-2 in the top of the ninth before Gamez hit an RBI single. He scored the game-tying run after sophomore Jorge Maldonado Jr. drew a walk with the bases loaded.

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Nellie Silva/Aztec Press
Sophomore Kellen Marruffo waits for the pitch at a Feb. 22 home game against Mesa Community College.

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GOLF: Men’s team takes sixth place finish

GOLF: Men’s team takes sixth place finish

By NICK MEYERS

The Pima Community College men’s golf team wrapped up its fifth tournament of the season with a sixth-place finish on April 1 at the Paradise Valley Invitational in Scottsdale.

Sophomore David Chung tied for sixth place amongst individuals with a total of 146 points, improving two strokes in the second round.

Sophomores Anthony Moncada and Tyler Cooper both contributed seven-point improvements in their second rounds for respective totals of 151 and 153.

Freshman Ben Bradford finished closely behind Cooper with a score of 154. Bradford also had a two-point improvement on his second round score.

The players “struggled in the first round and then played much better the second round,” coach Clark Rustand said.

“We just need to figure out how to change that first round to be more competitive,” he said. “I’m confident in our guys and think they’ll get it by the end of the season when it matters.”

The Aztecs will play one more tournament, at the Chandler-Gilbert Community College Invitational on April 14-15, before the Region I championships.

 

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Jaime Hernandez/Aztec Press
Sophomore Tyler Cooper watches the ball take flight on March 3.

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ATHLETIC VOICE: Baseball season returns

ATHLETIC VOICE: Baseball season returns

BY ZACH ARMENTA

Pop open a cold beer, grab a box of Cracker Jacks and make some nachos. It’s time for Major League Baseball.

Last year, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series and will look to repeat this season.

Let’s look at the biggest stories of the 2014 MLB offseason, starting with the American League.

Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees, announced he will retire after this season. One of the greatest baseball players ever, and a class act, will bid farewell.

Robinson Cano chased money to the Pacific Northwest and signed with the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners have Kyle Seager at third base and Nick Franklin and Brad Miller fighting for the shortstop spot, but will have an issue at first base.

The last big story in the AL is the Ian Kinsler and Prince Fielder trade. Kinsler went from the Texas Rangers to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Fielder. This was a move even I didn’t see coming.

It was a great move by both teams, but the Rangers should have tried to get a pitcher. Their starting rotation is weak and needs help.

In the National League, there was little movement but still some big news.

Let’s start with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Patrick Corbin is out for the year after having Tommy John surgery. This season went from bad to disgusting.

The Diamondbacks have no hope without Corbin. Paul Goldschmidt can’t do it all.

In the nation’s capital, the Washington Nationals are the team to watch. The Nationals traded three players to the Tigers for starting pitcher Doug Fister. That makes the National’s pitching rotation scary.

With Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister and Ross Detwiler, the Nationals are a team that can go all the way.

The biggest news is Ryan Braun’s return to the Milwaukee Brewers. After fighting but failing to save his 2011 league MVP award, he was suspended without pay for 65 games including playoffs. He returns this year and hopes to make an impact.

The Brewers have little talent, but maybe Braun can help them get to .500 or a little over. The only players the Brewers have besides Braun is Rickie Weeks, and maybe Mark Reynolds, Aramis Ramirez, Jean Segura and Matt Garza.

All in all, this 2014 MLB season will be good and I’m super jacked for its start.

Find that perfect spot on the couch and enjoy the games.

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SOFTBALL: Pima dominates Mesa CC

SOFTBALL: Pima dominates Mesa CC

By ANDREW PAXTON

Pima Community College swept Mesa Community College off the softball diamond, crushing them in both games of a doubleheader on March 29 at West Campus.

The Aztecs pitched shutouts in both outings. They earned a 7-0 victory in their first game and won the second match 11-0 in only 5 innings.

Sophomore Stephanie Vejar notched her eighth win of the season in the first game, giving up only two hits over seven innings.

In the second match, freshman Celina Martinez took the win, striking out four batters in four innings.

Freshman Alexis Dotson finished the day 7-7 from the plate, including a triple and three runs scored in the first game and 3 RBIs in the second.

The Aztecs have won 10 of their last 11 games and are now .500 in conference play (18-19, 13-13 in conference).

PCC will host Glendale Community College in a conference doubleheader on April 1 at West Campus. The games will begin at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

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Baseball: Pima pitcher records strikeouts, music

Baseball: Pima pitcher records strikeouts, music

By JOSE SANTIAGO III

Sophomore Cole Plouck has big baseball and music dreams.

The lefty, a Tucson native who graduated from Empire High School in Vail, made it onto the Pima Community College baseball roster as a freshman walk on. He is now a premier pitcher in the rotation.

Baseball has been a part of Plouck’s life since he was a kid.

“Sports have always been really big in my family,” he said. “At a young age, I just started playing baseball in the street. You know, just messing around.”

The Aztecs are 22-15 so far this season, and Plouck is pleased with the way he and the team have played.

“I think we have a solid team all-around and we can go really far this year,” he said.

Plouck has started the season 2-2, and looks to improve his record every time he steps on the mound.

In his March 15 outing, Plouck threw six innings of a no-hitter and had seven strikeouts. The no-hitter was completed by freshman teammate Ben Skuro.

For the week of Feb. 17-23, Plouck received Pitcher of the Week honors in ACCAC Division I. He pitched nine innings over two games and had 11 strikeouts without giving up an earned run.

Winning the honor felt great, Plouck said.

“It’s good to see progress after putting in the time,” he said. “Two years ago, that’s not something I would have thought I could have done.”

Plouck’s teammates are some of his biggest supporters. Freshman Kelton Vieux said Plouck has been huge for the team.

“He helps us win games with his pitching and he always gives it his all,” Vieux said.

“He is really cool and laid back, and he is always willing to help others get better.”

When Plouck isn’t dominating on the mound, he focuses on making music. He goes by the name “ColePrit” to create rap and hip-hop tracks.

Plouck works with artists who are signed to labels, and hopes to someday be signed to a label himself.

He showcases his songs on his website, coleprit.com.

Growing up, Plouck considered his parents to be his major role models, and said they contributed to his success in baseball.

“They were always realistic and I feel like that’s important,” he said. “When I had a bad game, I knew it. They wouldn’t say ‘Oh, that’s OK’ and I appreciated that.”

Plouck has committed to play at Florida International University in Miami next year and is excited about the opportunity.

He is still undecided about his major, but will continue to focus on music and baseball.

His music dream is making it big. His baseball dream is to be drafted into the MLB and pitch like big-league lefty Clayton Kershaw.

“I’d like to get drafted, but at the same time I just want to keep getting better,” he said. “I feel like I’m not close to where I should be yet, and I can get a lot better.”

 

Sophomore Pitcher Cole Plouck show his 4-seam fastball

Sophomore pitcher Cole Plouck demonstrates how he sets up his four-seam fastball.
( Aztec Press Photo by Jose Santiago III)

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TRACK AND FIELD: Aztecs keep setting national marks

TRACK AND FIELD: Aztecs keep setting national marks

By JAIME HERNANDEZ

The Pima Community College men’s and women’s track teams set five national marks in the Willie Williams Classic at the University of Arizona on March 21-22.

Women set national marks

The women’s team continued a strong start to the season by setting national marks at the Willie Williams Classic.

Sophomore Nikki Regalado finished fifth behind four UA runners in the 5,000-meter race. Her time of 18:26.95 was the No. 1 qualifying JUCO time in the nation.

Sophomore Kathy Fisher finished second in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:03.23, which was the second-best qualifying time in the nation.

The 4×400 relay team of freshman Maggie Prillaman and sophomores Brianna Rodriguez, Tenishia Reynolds and Fisher earned a national qualifying mark with a time of 3:59.27.

The women started conference competition March 15 with a second-place finish at Paradise Valley. They lost to Central Arizona College, but defeated Paradise Valley, Mesa and Glendale community colleges.

Fisher qualified for outdoor nationals with a second-place finish in the 400-meter. Her time was 1:03.52.

Freshman Kaysee Pilgrim took second place in the outdoor high jump with a jump of 5-5.

Rodriguez took first place in the long jump with a jump of 17-8 and finished third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.54.

She also competed in the 4×400 with Reynolds, Prillaman and freshman Aimee Yocupicio. The relay team took second place with a time of 4:06.67.

Yocupicio also finished second in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:29.42 Men continue strong start

The men’s team also set national marks in the Willie Williams Classic.

Sophomore Alfonso Mejia had the nation’s best qualifying time in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 53.59.

Sophomore Eddie Wilcox improved his national qualifying mark in the high jump with a jump of 6-10 3/4.

The men finished in third place at Paradise Valley on March 15. They defeated Paradise Valley and Glendale but lost to Central Arizona and Mesa.

Three athletes set outdoor national qualifying marks at the meet.

Wilcox qualified in the high jump with a first-place jump of 6-8.

Freshman Kevin Snead finished second in the 100-meter dash with a qualifying time of 10.61, the fifth-fastest in PCC history.

Sophomore Deante Gaines qualified in the long jump with a fourth-place finish of 23-10, the eighth-longest in school history.

He also took second place in the high jump with a jump of 6-6.

Freshman Anthony Spendlove took second place in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 10:46.48.

Freshman Khalil Hakim placed second in the triple jump at 42-6.

The Aztecs have six national qualifying marks after two events in the outdoor season. They will next compete at the Puma Outdoor Distance and Multi-Meet March 27-29 in Phoenix.

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Sophomore Nikki Regalado, shown in a file photo, was a national qualifier in 5,000 meters. ( Aztec Press Photo by Peter Bernal)

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GOLF: Women finish second in Phoenix

GOLF: Women finish second in Phoenix

By NICK MEYERS

Pima Community College’s women’s golf team took second place at the Estrella Mountain Invitational in Phoenix March 24-25.

In play March 11-12 at the Mesa Invitational, the women finished in second place while the men’s team finished eighth.

Women steer steady course

The Aztecs’ finish in the tournament hosted by Estrella Mountain Community College marks the fifth time the team has taken second place this season.

Coach Rick Price is confident the team will qualify for nationals with their current course.

The Aztecs ended play with a final score of 695.

Freshman Martha Felix led the team with a total of 164 points and the lowest round score of 81. She finished seventh individually in the tournament.

Freshman Paige Valles had the team’s only second-round improvement, shaving four points off her first round score, finishing 92-88.

Sophomore Josie Trapnell anchored the team with a score of 169 while sophomore Brittney Makar finished the tournament with a score of 182.

On March 12, the women tied for another second-place finish with Scottsdale Community College at the Mesa Invitational. Both teams finished with a score of 727.

Three Aztecs contributed six-stroke improvements in their second day of play.

Trapnell, Makar and Valles represented 18 of the 19-point improvement in the second round of play.

Trapnell led the team with a two-day total of 174.

Makar finished with 180, followed by Felix with 183. Valles finished with 190.

Men take a swing and a miss

The men’s team posted its worst finish of the year with a last-place tie on March 12 at the Mesa Invitational.

They currently sit in sixth place in the conference standings.

Coach Clark Rustand considers this tournament the team’s worst performance to date but intends to keep players focused.

“One setback is not a concern for me,” he said. “I think overall we’re still heading in the right direction.

The Aztecs had a combined total of 600 points for the Mesa tournament.

Freshman Ben Bradford led the Aztecs with a score of 148.

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Sophomore Anthony Moncada drives the ball down the fairway at Silverbell Golf Course. ( Aztec Press Photo by Jaime Hernandez)

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SOFTBALL: Pima sweeps El Paso Community College

SOFTBALL: Pima sweeps El Paso Community College

By BETO HOYOS

Pima Community College’s softball team traveled to Texas on March 25, and the Aztecs picked up a sweep against El Paso Community College.

In the first game, the Aztecs broke things open with four runs in the fifth inning, taking a 9-3 lead en route to an 11-6 victory.

Sophomore Valerie Luera and freshman Taylor Fabing showed off their power with back-to-back jacks. Luera had a two-run homer and Fabing had a solo shot.

Freshman Alexis Dotson finished the game 3 for 4 with two RBIs and two stolen bases. Dotson finished with six RBIs.

Freshman Celina Martinez earned the win, improving her record to 4-9. Martinez had two strikeouts in four innings.

In the second game, the Aztecs put up more than a dozen runs and won 13-5.

Dotson finished 4 for 5 with four RBIs and two doubles.

Luera finished 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a triple and sophomore Stacey Ramirez finished 2 for 3 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.

“We’re coming together and hitting and not leaving anyone on base,” Ramirez said. “We’re getting the little stuff done.”

On March 22, the Aztecs split a doubleheader against Scottsdale Community College.

They won the first game 4-2, after Luera crushed a game-winning two-run home run.

Fabing got the game started with an RBI single in the first inning to claim a 1-0 lead. Scottsdale tied the game in the second inning, but freshman Jackie Hernandez hit an RBI single to reclaim the Aztecs’ lead.

Freshman Alexis Dotson finished the game 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

Martinez picked up her third win of the season after throwing three innings in relief of sophomore Stephanie Vejar.

The Aztecs saw a six-game winning streak come to an end in the second game. The game was close throughout, but the Aztecs could not withstand a late Scottsdale rally.

Martinez took the loss after allowing five runs on nine hits.

On March 20, the team scored 22 runs in a sweep of GateWay Community College.

In the first game, the Aztecs scored in every inning for a 10-1 victory.

Vejar picked up her seventh win of the season, allowing one run on four hits. She had one strikeout and two walks.

Hernandez, sophomore Danielle Stensby, Luera, Dotson, sophomore Victoria Mariscal, freshman Perla Munoz and sophomore Mariah Rodriguez all recorded hits.

The Aztecs won the second game 12-7. Freshman Brianna Quiroz earned her third win of the season and freshman Brianna Urquidez picked up the save.

On March 18, Pima swept a doubleheader against Chandler-Gilbert Community College. On March 14, Pima snapped an 11-game losing streak during the Deanna Mauer Classic in Casa Grande.

Pima lost its first game of the day to Howard College of Texas, 7-4.

 

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Sophomore standout Valerie Luera waits for a pitch against Central Arizona College.
(Aztec Press Photo by Nellie Silva)

 

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GOLF: Men take fourth, women look to nationals

GOLF: Men take fourth, women look to nationals

By NICK MEYERS

Pima Community College’s golf teams are holding on to consistent tournament play but keeping their eyes set on bigger goals. The men’s team improved upon last tournament’s sixth place finish while the women steered a steady course towards the national championship.

Men’s team takes fourth place in Pima Invitational

The Aztecs were in full swing when they hosted the Pima Invitational at Silverbell Golf Course March 3-4. They improved a seventh-place standing to a fourth-place finish by the end of the second day.

The invitational became a showcase for their best team finish to date as the Aztecs notched a 9-stroke improvement over the first round for a second-day score of 282.

Sophomore Anthony Moncada tied for second in the individual rankings, shooting 70 for par in the first round and 68 for two under in the second. His two-day score of 138 was two strokes behind first place.

Freshman Eric Wu made his collegiate debut with a total of 144, followed closely by freshmen Gabe Borboa at 146 and Ben Bradford at 147.

At press time the men’s team was in the middle of a tournament at Dobson Ranch hosted by Mesa Community College.

Women’s team holds strong second but looks to improve

On March 9-10, the PCC women’s golf team once again took second in ACCAC tournament play during the Scottsdale Invitational.

The Aztecs swung for a total of 724 points, scoring consistently with 362 points over both days of the tournament.

Sophomore Josie Trapnell finished sixth in individual standings with a total score of 170. She anchored the team with two scores of 85 points over both days of the tournament.

Freshman Marta Felix had the biggest second-day improvement shooting 84 points, a six-stroke improvement over her first-day score of 90 points.

Sophomore Brittney Makar and freshman Paige Valles both finished the tournament with a score of 190 points. Makar shot 93 to Valles’s 94 on the first day and 97 to her 96 on the second day.

This is the third time this season the Aztecs have finished in second place behind Mesa Community College.

Head coach Rick Price says the team’s goal is to hold on to their strong second place standing and qualify for Nationals.

“We currently feel pretty confident that we can achieve that goal,” Price said. “We are half way through the season and the nerves will start settling down and I expect we will start playing our best in the last few tournaments.

The women’s team was entering their second day of a tournament at Hillcrest Golf Course hosted by Scottsdale Community College March 12 when the Aztec Press went to print.

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Sophomore Tyler Cooper drives the ball off the first tee in the Pima Invitational on March 4. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Hernandez)

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MY TUCSON: It's not spring without spring training

MY TUCSON: It’s not spring without spring training

By JOSE SANTIAGO III

With Major League Baseball’s opening day right around the corner, now is the time when all the cold-weather teams head down to Arizona and Florida for spring training.

When I was a kid, I always looked forward to watching the Diamondbacks, White Sox and Rockies play during spring training in Tucson.

It was only a short drive to what was formerly known as Tucson Electric Park. Admission was super cheap and there was always a good chance of seeing one of my favorite players in action.

Professional baseball, however, is now a thing of the past. All the teams that once called Tucson home for spring training have left. We don’t even have a minor league team anymore.

The saddest part is that I won’t be able to share with my kids the experiences I had at these spring training games.

I remember the anticipation of the ride to the ballpark with my glove on my hand, hoping and praying that a foul ball would come my way.

I remember getting all the players to sign something for me, even if I didn’t really know who they were. It was still awesome, just because they were on the team.

I remember lying on a blanket on the grass sitting area of TEP. I only sat up to eat a hotdog while watching the game.

These are things that I loved as a kid and I feel bad for all the Tucson kids who won’t be able to experience that now.

They’ve tried to replace the lost spring training games with a semi-pro soccer team, FC Tucson, and a new soccer stadium but I’m not convinced that can fill the void.

Soccer is OK and I can always get into it when the World Cup comes around. But baseball is America’s pastime, the greatest sport in world. Trading it for soccer is a terrible choice in my book.

This is the first year in a very long time that professional spring baseball won’t be played in Tucson. I will be mourning the loss until it decides to come back.

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Tucsonans enjoy spring training and sunshine during a Colorado Rockies game at Hi-Corbett Field in 2010. (Aztec Press 2010 file photo)

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SOFTBALL: Struggles continue

SOFTBALL: Struggles continue

By BETO HOYOS

The struggles continued for Pima Community College’s softball team March 11 as the Aztecs took on Western Arizona College and dropped both games of a doubleheader.

The Aztecs lost the first game 6-5.

Freshman Celina Martinez took the loss after pitching in relief dropping her record to 2-7.

Sophomore Valerie Luera went 1 for 3 with two RBIs, while freshman Alexis Dotson went 2 for 2 with two runs scored, an RBI and two stolen bases.

The Aztecs lost the second game 14-2.

Western scored six runs in the third inning and four runs in the fifth to pull away from the Aztecs.

The Aztecs’ only offense came in the first inning off of a RBI single by sophomore Danielle Stensby RBI and in the fourth inning.

Stensby went 1 for 2 with an RBI and Dotson finished 2 for 3.

On March 8, the Aztecs were swept in a doubleheader against Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher.

Sophomore Stephanie Vejar took the loss, dropping her record to 5-6 on the season.

“Yeah, I mean it does get frustrating but I know I can trust my teammates behind me to back me up,” Vejar said.

Eastern broke the 3-3 tie with two runs in the fifth inning and two runs in the sixth inning.

The Aztecs tried to mount a comeback in the seventh inning but the rally was halted after two runs crossed the plate.

Dotson went 2 for 3 with an RBI, a run scored and a triple while fellow freshman Jackie Hernandez finished the game going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Sophomore Stacey Ramirez finished the first game 2 for 3 with a run scored.

The Aztecs could not gain any momentum in the second game and the struggles were clear from the start. The second game lasted only five innings as the Aztecs were swept 8-0.

Martinez gave up seven runs on eight hits and picked up her sixth loss this season dropping her record to 2-6.

“One thing I’ve learned from my teammates is to always trust them behind me like they trust me,” Martinez said.

Hernandez and sophomore Valerie Luera each went 1 for 3 in the game.

On March 4, Pima dropped two games against Central Arizona College despite strong offensive performances by the Aztecs.

In the first game, Central took eight innings to defeat the Aztecs 10-8.

The Aztecs finished with four errors, all made in the infield.

“There were just too many little mistakes,” Ramirez said. “We’re all really talented, sometimes we all have off games.”

Freshman Brianna Quiroz had two RBIs and scored a run. Dotson went 3 for 5 with a triple and an RBI.

In the second game, the Aztecs were down early but rallied when freshman Paige Castro crushed a three-run RBI double tying the game at five.

Central responded with one run in the sixth and two runs in the seventh innings, and came away with an 8-5 win.

Castro finished 2 for 4 with three RBIs and sophomore Valerie Luera went 2 for 3 with two RBI’s.

“We’re playing like an open hand when we need to come together as a fist,” Ramirez said.

Pg15-Softball-Briana Urquldez

Freshman Briana Urquldez throws a pitch in Pima’s loss to Central Arizona College on March 4. (Aztec Press photo by Jaime Hernandez)

 

On Deck

March 14-15: @ Central Arizona Tournament, Coolidge, times TBA

March 18: @ Chandler-Gilbert CC, Chandler, 1 p.m.

March 20: Gateway CC, West Campus, 1 p.m.

March 22: Scottsdale CC, West Campus, noon.

March 25: @ El Paso CC, El Paso, Texas, noon.

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BASEBALL: Aztecs continue winning ways

BASEBALL: Aztecs continue winning ways

By JOSE SANTIAGO III

The Pima Community College baseball team defeated Chandler-Gilbert Community College March 11, improving its record to 16-10.

Sophomore Kellen Marruffo went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and two walks.

Sophomores A.J. Acosta and Juan Gamez and freshmen Travis Chavez contributed RBIs and at least two hits each.

On March 8, The Aztecs split their doubleheader against Yavapai College. The two games of the series were night and day opposites in how the Aztecs played.

The Aztecs lost the first game 2-0 despite a strong pitching effort from sophomore pitcher Cole Plouck. He pitched seven innings, giving up one earned run in the losing effort.

In the second game, Pima’s bats finally came alive. The Aztecs exploded for five runs in the seventh inning, which secured a 9-0 victory.

Sophomore Ethan Rosebeck pitched seven innings of shutout ball to go with four strikeouts. On the offensive side, Pima had five players cross home plate.

On March 4, the Aztec swept a doubleheader against Central Arizona College.

Freshman pitcher Chris Kucko earned a 5-4 win in the first game with help from freshman Ben Skuro, who picked up the save. Marruffo had two RBIs.

Pima won the second game 5-3. Marruffo hit a solo home run and had three RBIs. Freshman Marcel Renteria earned the win, pitching four and one-third innings of relief.

On March 1, the Aztecs lost the first game of a doubleheader against Eastern Arizona College. The second game was suspended after four scoreless innings due to rain, and has yet to be rescheduled.

Plouck, pitching his first game since winning ACCAC Division 1 pitcher of the week honors, went home with his first loss of the season. He gave up three runs in five innings of work.

Sophomores Dan Kennon and Devon Carrillo both had RBIs in a fifth-inning rally, scoring sophomores Jorge Maldonado Jr. and Cooper Smith.

Pg15-Baseball-Jorge Maldonado Jr

Sophomore Jorge Maldonado Jr. runs home against Mesa Community College on Feb. 22. (Aztec Press photo by Nellie Silva)

ON DECK

March 14: Miles CC, West Campus, 10 a.m.

March 15: Douglas College, West Campus, 2 p.m.

March 18: Gateway CC, West Campus, noon

March 22: @ Paradise Valley CC, Phoenix, noon

March 25: @ Glendale CC, noon

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TENNIS: Teams begin conference play

TENNIS: Teams begin conference play

BY ZACH ARMENTA 

Pima Community College men and women’s tennis teams started their season with tough tests.

The women’s team lost 6-3 on March 10 against San Diego Mesa College in California.

PCC lost all three doubles, scoring in just two games.

At No. 1 doubles, sophomores Amy Beeston and Cayla Cordova lost 8-1. No. 2 doubles sophomore Helena Meyer and freshman Cassidy McWhorter lost 8-0.

No. 3 doubles sophomore Ashten Watts and freshman Yani Alameda lost 8-1.

At No. 3 singles, Meyer won 7-5, 6-3. Watts once again dominated at No. 4 singles, winning 6-1, 6-2.

At No. 6 singles, Alameda won 6-2, 6-3. Her record has advanced to 8-2.

No. 5 singles McWhorter battled her opponent to the very end but lost 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

On March 4, the women played at home against Mesa Community College. They dropped their match 6-3.

PCC scored an 8-6 victory at No. 3 doubles from Alameda and Watts.

In singles play, PCC scored two wins.

The first came from Watts at No. 4 singles as she dominated her opponent 6-2, 6-1. At No. 6 singles, Alameda won 6-3, 6-3 and improved her record to 7-1.

“Really happy,” head coach Gretchen Schantz said. “Mesa is a strong team. Three wins is a strong start and we had close matches.”

The women started conference play with an 8-1 loss to Eastern Arizona College on Feb. 27.

The only win came from Alameda at No. 6 singles. She won 6-0, 6-3.

Beeston lost 6-0, 6-3 at the No. 1 singles spot. Cordova lost at the No. 2 singles spot 6-4, 6-0.

Rounding out singles play was McWhorter, who lost 6-2, 6-2 at the No. 5 singles spot.

The women were scheduled to play at Grossmont College in California on March 12. The match took place after Aztec Press went to the printer.

The men’s team had a rough start to conference play on March 4 after traveling to Mesa Community College. They lost their match 9-0.

In doubles play, all three teams won one game.

At No. 1 doubles, sophomore Brian Soto and freshman Richie Foitik lost 8-1.

At No. 2 doubles, sophomore Carlos Medina and freshman Josh Henkel lost 8-0. Freshmen Trey Terry and Aldo Amaya also lost 8-0 at No. 3 doubles.

PCC was swept in singles play.

At No. 1 singles, Soto lost 6-0, 6-0. Foitik at No. 2 singles lost 6-2, 6-2. Henkel rounded out the top three with a score 6-1, 6-0.

Medina at No. 4 singles and Ortiz at No. 5 singles lost with identical scores of 6-0, 6-0. At No. 6, Terry won one game, 6-0, 6-1.

“Mesa is a whole another level,” Soto said.

Up next for the men will be Glendale Community College at the Tucson Racquet Club on March 25 at 1:30 p.m.

 

On Deck

Men’s tennis

March 25: Glendale CC, Tucson Racquet Club, 1:30 p.m.

Women’s tennis

March 25: @ Glendale CC, Glendale, 1:30 p.m.

 

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