Tiger girls have found all-round formula - The Explorer: Sports

Tiger girls have found all-round formula

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Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:06 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

There's something new in the air at Marana this year. And it's not the players on the Lady Tigers softball team.

George Corona is in his first year coaching the Tigers, and the former Flowing Wells skipper has helped to engineer a remarkable turnaround.

Last year, the Tigers missed the playoffs with a losing record. This year, the team is beating all comers, pushing its record to 16-2 record with a 14-2 win at Catalina Foothills last week.

During spring break, the Tigers pulled off their biggest conquest to date, winning the Badger Invitational and topping Sierra Vista Buena 5-1 in the championship game. Marana's offense had scored in double figures in every game leading up to the finals. It dominated the opposition 79-2 behind pitchers Shayna Binnion and Courtney Lacaillade.

During the tournament, the Tigers blasted 12 home runs, four of them by Lacaillade.

"Our coaching has improved us," said Sammie Merriman, who homered, had three hits, and four runs batted in against Foothills, and also homered in the championship game win over Buena.

"We're having a lot of fun," Merriman said. "Our coaches have us trying a lot of ideas."

"It's not about me," Corona said. "I attribute it to their (players) abilities."

The team has three seniors, all named as co-captains early on. They are Binnion, Jessie Wengert and Kristi Shepherd.

"They've done a wonderful job," Corona said. "They've taken control."

Corona points out the team has good chemistry, with everyone on the same page.

"They trust me. I trust them."

Marana's offense has been bear amazing. In the win over Foothills, the Tigers had 19 hits and did not strike out.

"We're pretty deep," Corona said. "We have very few strikeouts."

They also batted around in consecutive innings against Foothills, as 10 different players had hits. Binnion and Wengert each had three hits. "Jessie Wengert only plays the school season," Binnion said. "She doesn't play clubs, because of other time commitments. She's a really good hitter.

"Hitting is the biggest strength on the team," Binnion said. "It's improved a lot over the last year."

Shepherd banged out a couple of hits from the number nine spot on Tuesday, while Chelsea Gourdin and Jenna Bodman also added two hits. Alex Steinmehl blasted a triple and hit a sacrifice fly.

Pitching is also a strong weapon for Marana.

Binnion pitched five innings in the rain at Foothills last Tuesday, and allowed two runs, striking out five and walking no one.

While some top-notch teams ride one pitching workhorse, the Tigers have two very good pitchers who shared equal time in the Badger tournament. Lacaillade also pitched a lot of innings.

"I've experienced not having another pitcher," Binnion said. "And it's not fun."

Right now, the Lions are having fun, winning games with outstanding hitting, pitching, and team chemistry.

"Our whole defense is really solid right now," Binnion said.

"Our team is playing well together. I'm really confident we might win at state this year."




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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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