The varsity softball team from Heritage Academy has won the AZCAA Division 2 State Championship.
The Heroes defeated a talented Imagine Prep Storm team of Surprise by a 15-12 score on May 9 at Farrington Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University.
Freshman pitcher Kenia Martin led the squad from the mound with a seven-inning, 10-strikeout performance that her coach, Derek Zappa, called “amazing.” Kenia threw an average of just 3.75 pitches per batter. She also had two hits and an RBI on her way to “Player of the Game” honors.
Two juniors – shortstop and captain Valarie Camacho and second baseman Brooke Anderson – powered the offense with two hits each. Valarie had two RBIs and Brooke added another while making the third out to capture the championship.
“We leaned on our entire roster throughout the season,” Zappa said. “The Heroes dug deep, worked hard and dedicated themselves to the three goals that they set together as a team. Each goal relied on the prior goal’s completion before being able to proceed forward. The rest is history.”
Many Heroes made contributions in the championship game.
Sophomore third baseman Bailey LaBounty had a hit, a walk, a stolen base and run scored. Defensively, she made several key stops to keep the Heroes ahead.
The bat of Payton Duncan, a freshman catcher, came alive with a single and a triple – and two RBIs. She added a stolen base.
Freshman centerfielder Aiyanna Sims put on a base-running clinic with her blistering speed. With a hit, a hit by pitch and one RBI, she also had stolen bases.
Adding RBIs to the team effort were freshman left fielder and utility player Olivia Santiago and freshman designated hitter Brooklynn Martin.
Putting up a stalwart defense were sophomore first baseman Sayuri Marquez, who had two putouts, and freshman right fielder Brielle Better.
Rounding out the championship team were sophomore left fielder Maddison Martin, freshman second baseman Jacee Anderson, centerfielder/second baseman Gabi Sorenson, freshman first baseman/catcher Caitlyn Strum, freshman right fielder Genesis Spallinger and first baseman/outfielder Zoey Wheaton.
Zappa said assistant coach Becca Robinson was the perfect balance needed by the team.
“She brought prior knowledge and a positive approach to the game,” he said. “She was an absolute contributing factor to our successful season.”
He also cited contributions by “Fungo Master” Joe Klepfer.