Coming into Saturday, the Coconino Panthers softball team seemed to be in prime position for a Grand Canyon Region title while ranking No. 8 overall in the 4A Conference.
Previously tied with No. 10 Mohave for the region lead at a 6-2 record, Coconino wrapped up Saturday afternoon with the standings looking much different.
Coconino lost both games of their home doubleheader with Mohave, dropping its overall record to 10-5, while Mohave jumped to 10-4 and 8-2 in region.
The Thunderbirds now hold a two-win advantage over 6-3 Mingus Union in the region while the Panthers trail by two games in fourth place at 6-4.
In the first game, the Panthers fell 19-9, with the second ending 10-0 in six innings.
Not the day the hosting Panthers were expecting.
“It was a rough day. So, we are just going to not take anything positive from this, because I’ll be honest, there wasn’t much positive at all on our side,” said Panthers manager Kimberly Dennis. “Mohave, I give it to them, they came out and crushed the ball, played great defense and had great pitching. They deserve both wins today.”
Coconino’s Kaitlyn Snopek (27) releases a pitch Saturday afternoon during play against Mohave at Coconino.
Mohave had 17 hits in the second game and gave up five to Coconino and did much of its damage early, jumping out to a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning.
In the bottom of the second, with Mohave batting, Coconino had a chance to turn a double play and stop the Thunderbirds from adding to a 2-0 lead. However, the Panthers were unable to turn it, and the next batter, Mohave’s Daezha Goodloe, took advantage with a two-run home run to put Mohave up 4-0.
A two-run third inning and, later, a four-run sixth closed the game, giving Mohave the sweep.
On the offensive side, when Coconino did make contact and get on base, they weren’t able to capitalize, leaving seven runners on base, with three of the seven in scoring position.
Coconino’s Ashlyn Hernandez (16) through at a pitch Saturday afternoon during play against Mohave at Coconino.
The Panthers will travel to Thunderbird High School on Monday before having the rivalry series with Flagstaff High Tuesday and Thursday. The top eight teams in 4A will advance directly to the state tournament while No. 9 to No. 24 will face off in play-in games on April 25th to reach the 16-team bracket.