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As vaunted CDO softball chases title repeat, foothills tennis polishes fourth straight boys team championship

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Posted: Tuesday, May 6, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:03 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Whether pro or prep, whoever’s having the best time on the field is often winning the most games.

Canyon Del Oro softball coach Amy Swiderski echoes that ideal. And as the Lady Dorado juggernaut steams through a smile-laden postseason ringed by standing-room-only bleacher sections, it’s difficult to disagree.

“They’re still having a lot of fun playing high school softball,” Swiderski said. “There’s nothing better than after playing three months to still be having fun and still enjoying each other.”

Along that fun-filled road toward fulfilling the softball prophecy of a repeat 4A state title, the Lady Dorados amassed a 31-4 record after beating Sabino 7-1 on Monday night, bumping their season’s overall score to 281-72.

While CDO gets much of their publicity from its pitching staff (storied junior Kenzie Fowler has thrown 19 strikeouts during the state tournament’s two games) the Dorados count six freshmen among their roster — and they all produce.

Those efforts shined during Saturday’s opening round five-inning 15-0 shutout against a bewildered-looking Apollo team, when frosh slugger Taylor Watkins whacked a three-run in-the-park homer, during the second inning.

“I was amazed, and it felt really good,” Watkins said. “It kinda got my nerves out, I guess.”

Watkins ranks among the ninth-grade poster kids, hitting .414 with 16 RBIs and only nine strikeouts over 99 at-bats. Though she’s small, Watkins carries an explosive potential that Swiderski loves — even when she’s on the receiving end.

When a botched fourth-inning call brought both coaches to the plate on Monday night, the freshman decided to steal home. The resulting collision landed Swiderski face down on the dirt — before the coach sprung up and flexed for CDO’s rowdy fans.

“Taylor is such an aggressive kid, and she didn’t want to risk the ball being dead or in play,” Swiderski said. “Unfortunately for her the ball was dead, and unfortunately for me I got taken out by a 90-pound kid.”

Offensive vigor takes the pressure off pitchers — even those like Fowler, who bat .459 with five homers themselves.

To Fowler — who’s thrown four no-hitters, 12 shutouts, and one perfect game on the season — statistics carry little weight. All that matters is whether the game lands in the “W” column, despite her 72.9 strike percentage.

“It doesn’t matter to me. A win’s a win to me,” Fowler said. “Shutting (Apollo) out, that’s a big deal for the first round, but a no-hitter’s not a big deal to me.

Combined, those seemingly breezy attitudes might not appear to add up to a team that’s currently ranked fifth in the nation on the USATODAY/NFCA polls. But all work and no play makes Jane a dull girl. To that, the girls muddy their hands after each game with “victory” chocolate chip cookies, fresh baked by Fowler’s grandmother.

Swiderski’s not about to change anything at this point.

“They’re doing something right, they’re where they are right now,” Swiderski said. “We’ve got to continue trusting them and having them trust themselves.”

Falcons snare fourth

While the Lady Dorados continue to work their magic, Catalina Foothills boys tennis has rested its argument for dominance, adding its fourth consecutive 4A-I team trophy to the display case last Tuesday.

After the Falcons’ No. 1 Tom Wolff called out of the lineup sick with a throat infection, senior Tyler Campbell stepped up into the top slot.

Still, with the doubles contests already in Foothills’ hands, Campbell didn’t need to finish his sets to leave his prep days behind with an on-court title sweep.

“It’s pretty much the best achievement along sports lines in high school,” Campbell said.

Senior Sam Sufi played No. 2 for the day, winning both his singles matches 6-1.

“It’s awesome — I mean four in a row,” Sufi said. “That’s the way to end it.”

Sufi dropped one of the doubles matches, which Foothills coach Robb Salant said dragged a bit, though the Falcons won them 2-1 overall.

“After that, it was like any other match,” Salant laughed. “It went pretty quick!”

Those other games Salant spoke of were pretty much all of them. During 2008, Catalina Foothills’ boys’ tennis squad kicked down nets toward a 178-2 overall match record this year, according to the coach.

The 5-1 win over Scottsdale Chaparral came with its own share of controversy as well.

With Wolff out of the lineup, Salant said Chaparral juggled its lineup to capitalize on a perceived deficit, stacking their No. 3 player against the Falcons’ No. 6 Ravi Ram.

Ram won the first match 6-4 before victory rang out halfway through his second round.

 “This year I was practicing a lot more than I have before,” Ram said. “So, it was good to see that some of the work I’ve been putting in is producing some dividends now.”

The ever-verbal Salant avoided verbosity over Chaparral’s creativity in the matchups during the afternoon, but later compared the effort to an act of desperation.

“They knew they couldn’t beat us straight-up, so they goosed around their lineup and it ended up making them look even worse,” Salant said. “It was so far off it was laughable.”

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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)

Swimming

Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

 

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