Desert Edge softball striking out cancer
by Casey Pritchard assistant sports editor
When Desert Edge pitchers hurl balls over the plate tonight, it will be in an attempt to strike out more than just Buckeye hitters. They’ll be attempting to strike out cancer as well. The Lady Scorpions JV and varsity teams are holding a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and its Strike Out Cancer program, all in honor of freshman coach Scott Smith, who is battling sarcoma. “We’re going to ask $1-2 per person to get in and then all those proceeds will get accompanied with what the girls have already raised and get submitted to the American Cancer Society in coach Smitty’s name,” said Christi Birdsell, the vice president of Desert Edge’s softball booster club.
Buckeye will be the opponent in both cases. “What we’re looking for, what I want to see us do, is one, raise a lot of money for the cancer society, who’s done a lot to help coach Smith,” Desert Edge head coach Rob Shorts said. “But more importantly it’s to show him how much the Desert Edge community cares about him and what he’s going through right now.” In addition to raising funds at the ballgame, Desert Edge players have also been selling backward paper Ks, the symbol for a strikeout looking, for donations around campus. As of April 3, the team had raised $272 from that endeavor. “You can write a message to coach Smith on one part of the K, and the other part has American Cancer Society on it,” Shorts said. “We’ll hang those around the backstop.” “And anyone who wants to make any additional donations, the kids will circumnavigate the crowd and ask for additional donations on the spot,” Birdsell added. “At end of the day we’ll tally it up and ship a check off.” Smith is in his fifth year as a softball coach at Desert Edge, and has also coached freshman volleyball, Shorts said. He’s a math teacher as well. “He’s still teaching at the school, so the whole student body is getting a really good glimpse of what someone goes through when fighting cancer,” Birdsell said. “One of the female teachers shaved her head to help support
Results Baseball April 4
Desert Edge 8, Raymond S. Kellis 7 April 5 Westview 15, Willow Canyon 11 Buckeye 13, Sedona Red Rock 2
Chaparral 3, Tolleson 0 Valley Vista 11, Millennium 6 Jake Newsome’s three hits and an RBI led the way for the Tigers. Mike Tinucci had a double and RBI. Yuma Catholic 13, Tonopah Valley 1 (5 innings) Shadow Ridge 4, Youngker 3 Estella Foothills 6, Blue Ridge 5
Agua Fria 5, Betty Fairfax 1 Cedric Rodriguez’s three hits, including a pair of triples, led the Owls. Nick Day and Josh Decker both had two hits, with both of Day’s being doubles and Decker getting a triple. Jose Hernandez threw a complete-game five-hither for the win. He struck out five and walked none. Verrado 19, Cortez 7 (6 innings) Luke Gunther had four hits, including three doubles, and an RBI to pace the Vipers’ offense. Wyatt Hull had two hits, including a home run, and drove in two runs. Geo Argenal had three hits, including a double, and three RBI. April 6
a homer and he knocked in three runs. Verrado 14, Snowflake 13 Verrado rallied for five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the win. Gian Mendoza’s three hits, including a triple, led the Vipers. Logan Meadors contributed two hits and four RBI.
The JV game starts at 4 p.m. and varsity follows at 6.
him, and they did that in front of the student body. The girls on the team are really getting into this. A lot of the older students had him as a coach at one point in time when they came through as freshmen.” Despite Smith’s battle with cancer, his thoughts are still with his team and students on a regular basis. Throughout the entire process he’s been very positive and upbeat, Shorts said. “He’s a tough guy, to go what he’s going through and
keep teaching; he puts the kids first in his mind,” Shorts said. “It’s something I want to tell him, don’t worry about them, take care of you. But he’s always wanting to know how the kids are doing and you can’t take that part out of him I guess. It’s always them first, and that’s why they care so much about him.”
Birth of an idea The idea for tonight’s fundraiser came because Shorts is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and he was sent an email about strikeout for cancer. “We were looking for something to do for coach Smith anyway, so when that email came across it seemed like
the perfect thing to do,” Shorts said. “I got with the booster club and they started to put it together.” Birdsell had help from Clara Pond, the JV coach, to put
everything together. It was on short notice, but Birdsell is happy with the way it’s unfolded. “It’s really kind of a neat thing for them to do, a voice and an opportunity for them to bring awareness,” she said.
In addition to the strikeout cancer game, the Desert Edge teachers will challenge teachers from Odyssey Academy, where Smith’s wife works, in a basketball game at 7 p.m. Friday at Desert Edge. Proceeds from that event, called Smitty ball, will go straight to coach Smith and his family for their medical expenses, Birdsell said. “There are days where he looks real healthy and there are days where chemotherapy is a brutal thing and he’s going through some bad stuff sometimes,” Shorts said. “But his attitude and the thing he’s talked about is he’s always been positive and he’s always upbeat, he’s doing well.”
Casey Pritchard can be reached by email at email@example.com
Estrella Foothills 10, Globe 4 Zach Miller and Cameron McCubbins both had four hits to lead the Wolves’ 18-hit attack. David Armor added three hits, including a home run, and he drove in four runs.
Estrella Foothills 6, Wickenburg 4 Payson 13, Buckeye 9 April 7 Verrado 4, Chino Valley 2 Wickenburg 11, Buckeye 7 Estrella Foothills 9, Payson 8 The Wolves’ offense was led by Cameron McCubbins, Zach Miller and Ryan Erazo, all of whom had two hits. Both of Miller’s hits were doubles, and he drove in two runs. Verrado 5, Estrella Foothills 2 Verrado scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to gain the victory. Cameron McCubbins had two of Estrella’s five hits. McCubbins and Sam Williams each drove in a run. Ryan Flores and Geo Argenal each had two hits for Verrado, and Argenal drove in two runs.
Millennium 10, Willow Canyon 2 Mike Tinucci threw a complete-game four-hitter, allowing two unearned runs. He struck out four and walked none. Anthony Davison and Sammy Rimer both had three hits. Davison had two doubles and Rimer had one. Davison and Jake Newsome both drove in a pair of runs. Youngker 14, Agua Fria 4 (5 innings) Brent McClure had two hits, both doubles, and five RBI to lead the Rough Riders. Frankie Celyea added a home run and two RBI. McClure went the distance on the mound, picking up the win after allowing four earned runs on seven hits. He fanned eight and walked three. Verrado 10, Florence 0 (6 innings) P.J. Garcia pitched a three-hit complete game, striking out seven, to earn the victory. Geo Argenal, Chris Burks, Tyler Boxwell and Luke Gunther all had a pair of hits for the Vipers. Burks’ hits included
Softball April 5 La Joya 14, Sierra Linda 4 Tonopah Valley 7, Yuma Catholic 6 Estella Foothills 10, Youngker 0 (6 innings) Kasia Smith picked up the win with a complete-game three-hitter. Tatum reedy led the offense with three hits. Smith had two hits, including a home run, and five RBI. Chaparral 4, Millennium 3 Chaparral broke a 2-2 tie with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth inning. Jasmine Ramirez had a hit and two RBI for the Lady Tigers. Westview 20, Tolleson 4 The Lady Knights banged out 17 hits led by Analicia Vega and Chelsie Goddard, both of whom had three, including a double for each. Sianna Gomez, Jasmine Buirse, Lindsey Simmons, Mikaela Reed and Ciera Esquivel all added two hits. Simmons had a home run, her eighth of the season.
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