Navajo Prep (15-5, 2-0 District 1-2A) belted five home runs and 28 hits in the District 1-2A opening doubleheader at home against Tohatchi on Wednesday. That offensive production, paired with a solid pitching performance from Jazmine Kinsel, allowed the Lady Eagles to defeat Tohatchi 18-3 in four innings in Game 1 and 15-0 in three innings in Game 2.
“They were most definitely ready to play. It showed,” said Navajo Prep softball coach Darin Wright. “We took the lead in the first inning and never looked back. The girls are having fun, and that is the whole key.”
Junior Kiera Rocke led the Lady Eagles' offensive onslaught, going 2-for-2 with two home runs in the first game and 2-for-3 with a triple in the second. Rocke had eight RBIs combined in the two games.
Her performance added to her already great season in which she is hitting .875.
Sophomore Sydni Ancira also went 2-for-3 with two home runs in the first game, while fellow sophomore Desmarie Hanley added another home run in Game 1 while driving in six runs.
In the two games combined, senior captain Lynshellraye Begay was 4-for-5 at the plate with two triples and six RBIs.
The power in the Lady Eagles' bats hasn't been there all season, but Wright is impressed with the way the girls are swinging their bats in recent weeks.
“We struggled at the plate for awhile, except for Rocke. We have worked hard on it, and we are starting to see it pay off the last six games. In those six games, we have hit 14 home runs,” he said. “We have been able to get timely hits all year, but now those timely hits are to the power alley and over people's heads.”
Kinsel pitched both games for Navajo Prep, allowing just seven hits while striking out five in the seven innings played in the doubleheader.
“She has come a long way,” Wright said. “The first games out against Estancia we won, but she walked 13 people and hit four girls in the first game, and then she hit three more girls and walked nine in the second game. Today, she walked only two girls all day. She has improved, and it has allowed us to play defense. We aren't giving up lots of runs anymore.”
At 15-5, the Lady Eagles are the No. 3 ranked 2A team in the MaxPreps.com poll.
Before Wright begins to look at the state tournament, he and the rest of the team are focusing on winning a district title.
“To my understanding, Navajo Prep has not won a district title in softball. Rehoboth has always been the district champs it seems,” he said. “We are taking it one game at a time, one opponent at a time and we will play our game instead of playing other people's game. We are going to defend and swing the bats no matter who we play.”
Wright does believe the team is ready for anything they face, especially considering all five of the team's losses have come to 4A or 5A opponents this season.
“We played in the Kirtland tournament, and we were the only team there to score on Aztec. The only opponent to hold us scoreless this year has been Valencia,” he said. “We are continuing to take the next step. That is why we played in Rio Rancho, and we were able to beat a 5A team (Rio Grande) there. We did all of that early so when we play in district, we are ready for anything. We are ready for hard line drives, bunts or anything that comes our way. It will help put us in those conversations locally with Aztec, Piedra Vista, Farmington and Bloomfield.”
Navajo Prep will travel to Zuni next Tuesday for another district doubleheader. The Lady Eagles' final home games will be played Saturday, May 4, in non-district games against Santa Fe Indian School.
The Lady Eagles finish the regular season on May 9 at Rehoboth.
John Livingston can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter