Camp Verde softball heads to Payson tournament

Camp Verde freshman ace Jacy Finley has been impressive this season so far according to Lady Cowboys head coach Henry Smith (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde freshman ace Jacy Finley has been impressive this season so far according to Lady Cowboys head coach Henry Smith (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde High softball lost their fourth game of the year on Tuesday but head coach Henry Smith thinks the Lady Cowboys will be able to finish finding themselves.

Camp Verde fell to Bourgade Catholic 9-2 on Tuesday, the Lady Cowboys’ fourth loss in their last six games.

Smith said the Bourgade game was tough.

“We’re still trying to figure out the position and responsibilities and trying to figure out our team, the make up and how we’re going to go about competing at a high level,” Smith said.

However three of those losses were to Liberty, 10-1, Rio Rico 13-2 and Flagstaff 7-6. Camp Verde is 2A, while Rio Rico and Flagstaff are 4A and Liberty is 5A. Plus those losses came at the Wrangler Classic Softball Tournament, not in power point games.

Smith said the tournament was good for Lady Cowboys.

“That was kind of our first time of showing us things that we need to work on,” Smith said. “The teams that beat us were quality upper division teams so we were confident that we can make some adjustments and come back and be more competitive.”

Camp Verde rallied to beat Scottsdale Christian 15-3 after the Wrangler tournament.

“So we made a couple of position changes last week and we’ll continue to shift players and find out where they’re most comfortable and where they can be most productive and we still have a little bit of time to figure this stuff out but overall I’m happy,” Smith said.

Smith said anytime you get to play quality teams you learn something.

“It is huge for us to be able to play teams that give us the pressure like it would be in a big state game,” Smith said. “We have our focus, our goal is still to get better every day and continue to get better and we are, it’s just taking a little longer than expected but our players are motivated and they accept the challenge, they understand that it’s going to be difficult and they’re willing to continue to work hard to get where we need to be.”

Last year Camp Verde finished second in the state.

Smith said he’s been really impressed with freshman ace Jacy Finley, catcher Serenity Garcia, senior Kayla Hackett and sophomore Tyra Smith.

“Kayla Hackett is always, from her freshman year, she’s been a team leader, she’s quiet, doesn’t say a whole lot and she leads by example, so she’s been solid for us every game, she gives 100 percent,” Smith said. “I think Jacy Finley and Serenity Garcia are doing well, working together as a battery and they’re learning each other, they haven’t had a whole lot of time to play with each other and so Serenity’s figuring out how Jacy throws and Jacy’s starting to trust her a little bit more.”

Up next is the Grace Lee Haught Memorial in Payson. The tournament features 25 teams, like Apache Junction, Snowflake, Westwood, Pusch Ridge, Tanque Verde, Mingus Union, St. Mary’s and Sunnyslope.

Their next home game is March 21 when they host Tonopah Valley at 3:45 p.m.

Smith said the Wrangler tournament helped the Lady Cowboys and that he’s excited about the Grace Lee Haught Memorial.

“(Payson head coach) Curtis (Johnson) and the Payson Longhorns put out a really good tournament and we look forward to this,” Smith said. “I think we’re evenly matched with the best teams in the state, we just need to figure out how to put it all together, so both tournaments have quality teams and we’re looking forward to playing some ball and testing our abilities again because I think we got a little bit better in the Wickenburg tournament and we figured out a few things and we’re excited to put them to work.”

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