Lady Wildcats rally with two runs to get by Ganado

By Quentin Jodie
Navajo Times

CHINLE, March 28, 2013

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(Times photo – Donovan Quintero)

TOP: Ganado's Samantha Begay, left, gloves the ball just as Chinle Lady Wildcat Emily Kinbrough (12) brushes by her. Kinbrough was eventually called safe.

SECOND FROM TOP: Ganado catcher Arianna Chee, right, reaches out for a wild pitch as Chinle's Nadia Natay scores a run on Tuesday in Chinle.

I t wasn't the kind of finish they wanted but they got the job done.

While trailing by one heading into the sixth inning, the Chinle softball team plated two runs and held off Ganado, 12-11, on Tuesday afternoon.

Freshman catcher Melania Yazzie started that rally with a triple and she scored on a hard line drive from third baseman Lea Long, which tied the game.

Two batters later, Long plated the go-ahead run on a RBI single from Latisha Brown.

The Wildcats then completed the sweep with three outs, two coming from second baseman Samantha Begay including one that she had to work for.

"Our expectation is to finish strong and try to win every inning we have," Chinle coach Tim Su'e Sue' Liafua said. "We have to do it with every pitch, with every bat, and it has to be done on defense.

"Today I don't thing that was what we were doing," Liafua added. "We were undisciplined, but they take full responsibility for what they did wrong."

After winning the first game by a 12-2 count Liafua credited Ganado for giving them a game in the nightcap but he said they got completely out of sync especially in the top of the sixth as the Hornets pushed across six runs.

In that inning, starting pitcher Kiersten Begay struggled to find her pitching rhythm as she walked four batters before Liafua inserted ace hurler Nadia Natay.

"I have two good pitchers and my second one I could tell she was struggling so I had to bring Nadia back in," the Chinle coach said.

To their credit, the Hornets got five timely hits in that inning with second baseman Samantha Begay recording two RBIs.

"The kids were making some good decisions up there," Ganado coach Hope Willie said. "They were keeping an eye on the pitches. They were seeing what was hittable and what was not."

And while Chinle earned the sweep, Willie was proud of how they competed.

"We finally got it together because at the beginning we just stumbled," she said. "They came out more aggressive in the second and we gave Chine a run and it turned out to be a great ball game."

Despite the outcome, Willie said this will make them a strong team but she said they still need work on communication and where to field the ball.

"We need to do a lot more talking on the field, knowing where the play is going to be," Willie said. "We also need to judge the hits by looking at the pitch and knowing when to swing."

After coming up with one hit in the first game, the Hornets pounded out 21 hits in the second with shortstop Shiyanne Yazzie and catcher Nneka Boling leading the way with four hits each.

Arianna Chee, Renee Peterson and Karla Curley added three hits apiece for Ganado as well.

For Chinle they finished the game with 17 hits. Clarisa Begay and Latisha Brown lead that attack with three hits each.

Both players came up big in the third as Chinle plated four runs with Begay starting that rally with a single base hit.

The Wildcats then earned two consecutive walks before Brown nailed a hard line drive down the middle to bring in two runs in. Next at bat, Wynonna Wilson came up a two-run, double which gave the home team a 7-4 lead.

"We finally found our sticks," Liafua said, while adding that they played in two competitive tournaments before Tuesday's game.

"We got some good reps," he said of the Kingman, Ariz., and Bloomfield, N.M. tournament they played in.

"We went 1-2 in Bloomfield but we should have went 2-1. We lost our very first game to (Albuquerque) Hope Christian in the last inning, but that tournament was high caliber with some very good teams that had some very fast pitchers. They had more advanced players than what we've seen.

"We should have been in the championship bracket," he added, "but we went over there to learn how to play with one another."

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