Piedra Vista pitching staff seeks improvement

Lady Panthers have produced plenty of offense so far, but inability to keep opponents from scoring has been an issue

Karl Schneider
  • The other four teams in District 1-6A qualified for the state tournament last year.
  • PV yielded 33 runs in games this year against Centennial and Silver.
  • Junior Ananda Delegarito brings the most varsity experience to the rotation.

FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista softball team is going to have to get a little creative this season to hang with the top competition in 6A.

Piedra Vista's Sydney Schumacher delivers a pitch against Shiprock on Friday at the Farmington Sports Complex.

The Lady Panthers have the production at the plate to score runs — they've already showed that run production off this season, hanging eight runs on Centennial and 16 on 4A power Silver. But they also lost both of those games, allowing 33 runs in the two games combined.

That's why quality pitching with be at a premium for PV this season.

"We don't want football scores — not on the (opponent's) side anyway," PV coach Kevin Werth said.

One way Werth said the Lady Panthers will try to keep scores down will be using a variety of pitchers with different styles throughout games to keep opposing batters from getting too comfortable. It's a game plan he used at the state tournament last season when PV played Aztec and switched back and forth between Aleja Armenta and Ananda Delegarito every time through Aztec's lineup, ensuring no batter saw the same pitcher two times in a row.

PV has five players — Delegarito, Sydney Schumacher, Ashlee Lucero, Morgan Anderson and Natalie Martin — expected to see time in the circle this season.

"We're going to have to be strategic with our lineups so we can get all five in there when we need to without affecting our batting order, because we need our big sticks in there, too," Werth said. "We're going to have to be creative and see what we can do, especially with the district that we're in. It should be fun, though."

Piedra Vista's Ananda Delegarito, left, is congratulated by Aleja Armenta during a state tournament game against Aztec on May 12 in Rio Rancho.

Joining PV in District 1-6A are Cibola, Cleveland, Rio Rancho and Volcano Vista, all of which made the 6A state tourney last year.

Schumacher and Delegarito present a study in contrasts. Schumacher, a senior, said she has the least velocity and relies on putting a lot of movement on her pitches to keep batters guessing, while Delegarito, a junior, uses her power to blow pitches past hitters.

"I'm definitely on the slower end of our pitchers," Schumacher said. "We have a lot of girls who throw really hard like Ananda does, but I think I throw (batters) off because I'm so much slower than the other girls."

Delegarito brings the most varsity experience to the rotation, having thrown 69.2 innings last season. Schumacher and Martin each totaled fewer than five innings last season, and Anderson and Lucero, both sophomores, did not play varsity ball last season.

As the most experienced pitcher, Delegarito is the de facto leader of the pitching staff. That leadership will likely carry over to other parts of the game, and she said there is already one thing she and the team have noticed this year that needs to be addressed.

"We've kind of realized that toward the end of the game, something wakes us up and makes us want to win. That's when everyone starts to click, but it's at the end of the game," Delegarito said. "It's good we get that, but it also kind of sucks because it's always at the end, and we usually end up losing those games."

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.