Camaraderie helps reinvigorate softball; 19 from Tempe get All-City recognition
Corona’s softball team won 11 of its last 12 games to end the regular season 21-11 and enter the state playoff tournament as the No. 16 team where they lost in the first round 2-1 to No. 17 Perry.
“Our regular season was quite successful and challenging at the same time,” said coach Jennifer Ray. “We were young, with only six seniors, so it took us a while to get used to each other. The camaraderie finally happened midway through the season and we played much better from then on.”
The Lady Aztecs honored their six seniors—Corina Sepulveda, Christy Farrell, McKenna Isenberg, Bria Schmitt, Andrea Urias and Briana Schrimpf—at the last home game April 23.
Corona Boys Tennis — The Aztecs finished the season 15-1, won the Tempe City Champions and made it into the second round of the team Division I state tournament before losing to Desert Mountain.
In the individual state tennis tournament, Corona’s No. 1 singles player, senior Kevin McMahon, won his first two matches before losing in the third round to eventual state champion Brophy’s Hudson Blake according to coach Rick Wanta.
Corona had two doubles teams make it into the state tournament: Conor Prindiville with Daniel Lee and Conor Harber with Alex Jing. Both won their first rounds but fell in the second round.
The Aztecs should be strong again next season after only losing two seniors, McMahon and Pranav Balaji.
“Our returning players are already looking forward to next season and I’m told we have some good freshmen coming in so we should still be very competitive in 2014,” said Wanta.
TACA Awards — Several local athletes, including two Marcos de Niza, 14 Corona, two Tempe and one McClintock student received Tempe All-City Awards at the annual Spring Sports Banquet held May 13 at the Tempe Sheridan.
Marcos senior Stephanie Montanez received her award for her athletic abilities on the softball field. Playing in the outfield, Montanez had a .969 fielding percentage while batting .495, with 45 hits, 37 runs batted in and 37 runs of her own. She was 10 for 10 in stolen base attempts and let her team in on-base percentage getting on base almost 60 percent of the time.
Jaquesse Moore, a senior second baseman and outfielder on the Padres baseball team, was also recognized with a TACA award for his achievements on the baseball field.
Corona’s 21-12 (10-3 region) softball team had four players receive TACA awards at the banquet: McKenna Isenberg, Briana Schrimpf, Makenzie Bates and Alyssa Alan.
Isenberg, Corona starting pitcher, had 130 strike outs and only 37 hits against her after facing 267 batters in the 68 innings she pitched for the Lady Aztecs. At bat, Isenberg also led the team in RBI’s at 17 and doubles with 8 while batting .390.
“McKenna was our stability throughout the season,” said coach Jennifer Ray.
Fellow senior Schrimpf, the starting catcher, had the second higher RBI’s with 16 on 23 hits batting a .411 average.
Bates, a junior, playing both in the outfield and as a pitcher compiled some impressive stats including a .400 batting average with a 3.34 earned run average after pitching 35 innings for the Lady Aztecs.
Alan, as one of four freshmen on the team, compiled a .333 batting average scoring 10 runs on 11 hits getting on base over 40% of the time she was at bat.
The Aztec baseball team had a fantastic post-season run in the Division I state tournament. They made it all the way to the quarterfinals after entering as the No. 24 seed and were rewarded by having four players presented TACA awards.
Corona’s junior Nathan Chokey was given the TACA award for his skills in the outfield where he had nine put outs on his 10 attempts earning him a 90% fielding percentage. Chokey also led the team in batting averages with .519.
Chokey’s batting average was just ahead of teammate and senior second baseman Jeff Carter who finished the season batting .469 with 15 hits and 11 runs getting on base over 55% of the time. Carter led the team in stolen bases with six of the team’s 13 total on only four attempts.
Robert Colby Hamilton received his TACA for his skill behind the plate as catch for the Aztecs. Hamilton led Corona’s team in fielding percentage a .982 by putting out 49 batters on 56 attempts. He was especially good at catching runners trying to steal bases. Hamilton only allowed two stolen bases all season and put out six of the eight runners who attempted to steal a base while he was catcher.
Senior Rick Riley was a stellar first baseman for the Aztecs putting out 48 of the 49 batters with only one error all season earning him a .98 fielding percentage. He was no slouch at bat either scoring five runs on nine hits with seven RBI’s.
Corona’s senior tennis player Kevin McMahon was presented his TACA for in the singles tennis category. McMahon who won all 15 of his singles matches in the regular season and made it into the third round at state before losing to the eventual state champion.
Corona’s Division I state runner up boys track team had four athletes receive TACA awards. Junior Tevin Mayfield was awarded for his skills in three events: 200 meter run, 110 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles.
Mayfield took third in both the 110 and 300 meter hurdles at the Division I state tournament and qualified to run in the 200 meter run but did not start. Mayfield is part of Corona’s 4×400 relay team that won their second straight state championship.
Junior Nathan Rodriguez was given his TACA award for his athletic prowess in long distance running. Rodriguez ran a personal best of 4:12.96 in the 1600 meter run at state to finish second after taking first in the same race at all but one of the Arizona meets he competed in this season.
Rodriquez was also given an award for the 800 meter TACA category. He finished third at state in the 800.
Ryan Normand, another junior, who runs long distance for Corona was awarded in the 3200 meter category. Normand gave Rodriquez a challenge all season finishing either first or second in most of the meets he entered.
Colin Freeland is the only field athlete from Corona to receive an award. He was presented his TACA for high jump. Freeland had his personal best 6-foot-2-inch jump at the Tempe City Meet in late April which qualified him for the state meet where he jumped the same height.
Grace Ashu was the only girls track athlete to win a TACA this year but this junior hurdler has steadily improved over the season and may be the one to beat in the 300 meter hurdles next season. Ashu shaved off over a minute on her best time of 46.95 last season to her personal best this season of 45.08.
Ashu took sixth at the Division I state track meet in the 300m hurdles and was part of the 4×100 relay team that took third at state.
McClintock High School’s athletic department had Mary Mentz receive a TACA award for infield in softball while Tempe High School had two TACA award recipients.
Victoria Lebario received her award for the 400 meter run in track while Kayla Melgar also received her TACA award for the shot put category.