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Kofa freshman outduels Yuma's ace as Kings win 2-1
After surrendering a run early in the second inning, Kofa's freshman pitcher Kennedy Garcia composed herself and pitched five scoreless innings to outduel Yuma's Isabel Villalobos for a 2-1 King victory in their Gila Valley Region opener Wednesday evening at Caballeros Field.
“(People) usually don't expect much from a freshman,” Garcia said. “But to go out there and successfully compete against juniors and seniors was a great feeling.”
“She did great today,” Kofa coach Emma Morrison said. “She's only a freshman, so normally we bring a pitcher in the fifth for relief. But I asked her how she felt, and she said she could go. So we decided to let her go the distance.”
Yuma (7-7 overall, 0-1 GVR) struck first after left fielder Itzy Silva's fly ball to center was mishandled and allowed Alicia Stephens to score for a 1-0 Criminal lead in the second.
“Once they got that run, I realized I couldn't give up any more hits,” Garcia said, who finished with seven innings, four hits, five strikeouts, and no earned runs on the night. “So I focused on working the outside of the plate when their big hitters came up. With that and our defense delivering a great performance, we shut them out the rest of the game.”
In the fourth, Kofa's Miranda Brookhart led off the inning with a line drive to the centerfield wall for a double. On the next at-bat, shortstop Madison Tracy's lazy fly ball landed between defenders and Brookhalt scored when right fielder Kaila Parra overthrew Villalobos and the ball rolled to the backstop.
Later in the inning, left fielder Robyn McCormack drove in Tracy with a single to left, giving Kofa (5-6 overall, 1-0 GVR) a 2-1 lead the Kings wouldn't relinquish.
“Our team did great overall,” Morrison said. “We're young. We're getting some experience right now. (Our) defense and pitching are coming along and we'll get better with each game this season.”
Despite the loss, the Criminals received a solid pitching performance from Villalobos who finished the night with six innings, three hits, seven strikeouts, three walks and one earned run.
At the plate, Yuma was led by Stephens who went 2-for-3.