Lady Panthers sit atop loaded District 1-6A
Piedra Vista softball team remains in good position despite 9-7 defeat to Cibola
FARMINGTON — Questions lingered around the Piedra Vista softball team entering this season.
After a decade of dominance, winning nine straight state titles in 4A and 5A, PV moved up to 6A, and head coach Kevin Werth hinted at a concern about how the Lady Panthers would fair in a loaded District 1-6A.
But the Lady Panthers have exceeded expectations, starting their district schedule 3-0 before dropping today's game 9-7 to Cibola at the Farmington Sports Complex.
"I was definitely pleased up until this point," PV coach Kevin Werth said. "We let an opportunity slip by us. We had a chance to go 4-0, but we're still at a good spot at 3-1 in this district. We've still got a lot of ball to play, and we just have to regroup."
With the loss, the Lady Panthers still hold the top spot in the district standings with Cibola and Cleveland lurking at 2-1.
PV held a 6-1 lead on the Lady Cougars before giving up two three-run home runs in the fourth inning and couldn't get its offense going again with a poor approach at the plate.
Junior Cheyenne Stark said she thinks the tough loss could be a blessing as PV moves into the second half of the district schedule.
"I definitely think this is going to be a big eye opener for us. I think this loss is going to make us go out and compete and beat teams 10 times more than we already do," she said. "We've definitely come together as a team, and this is going to bring us together more. We're going to come out and fight and compete. We're going to have more heart and grit."
The second half of PV's district schedule puts the Lady Panthers on the road for three of the four games. Other than an 11-5 win over Volcano Vista, three of the four district games have been decided by three runs or fewer.
Should the race for the district title be as close as the first round of district games, the Lady Panthers' ability to stay mentally checked in for all seven innings will be paramount.
"That's one part about this game — it can humble you in a hurry. We were riding a high with a three-game winning streak in the district, and we got put right back in our place really quick," Werth said. "I guess that's the beauty of the game, but also the pain of the game. We need to have our minds right every single game and for all seven innings."
PV will get a short break from District 1-6A action this week, travelling across town to face Farmington on Tuesday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.