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Lady Knights Continue Offensive Momentum on Senior Night

ACP Softball defeated Veritas Prep 26-10 on Senior Night.

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Senior Night is always a special night. There’s a little added emotion and excitement among the players and fans as the seniors play the final home game of their high school careers. On Friday night at Andersen Junior High, ACP’s Lady Knights softball team recognized the six senior members of the team: outfielder Amber Butler, infielder Meg Colihan, outfielder Rachel Kokernak, manager Natalie Phillips, outfielder Rachel Morris, and catcher Hope O’Brien, in a ceremony before the game. With a record of 11-3 overall and 9-1 in section play, good enough for the #10 ranking in the state, the Knights looked to send their seniors off right heading into their matchup with Veritas Prep in the final home game of the season.

The Offensive Onslaught Continues

Fresh off a 34-18 road victory against Santa Cruz Valley on Thursday, the Knights wasted no time building on their offensive momentum against the Falcons. The Falcons took an early 1-0 lead before the Knights came to bat. In the bottom of the 1st, Taryn Foster (11) led off the game with a double and immediately stole third and scored on a wild pitch. Just two batters into the game, the score was tied 1-1. A bases-loaded walk drawn by senior Hope O’Brien gave the Knights the 2-1 lead, a lead they would not relinquish. Lauren Kuechler (9) followed by clearing the bases with a grand slam to give the Knights a 6-1 lead before they recorded an out, and the rout was on. The Knights offense would bat around in the first inning not once, but twice, in a seemingly never-ending inning that saw the Knights score 15 runs. More runs could have been scored easily if not for a baserunning blunder that ended the inning.

Now pitching with a 14-run lead, Kyleigh Mantell (11) was able to cruise to an easy 1-2-3 shutdown inning in the top of the second and bring the scorching-hot Knights offense back up to bat. They picked up right where they left off, starting the bottom of the second inning the same way the first inning did, with a leadoff double from senior Rachel Kokernak, who scored on a double by Jessica Tells (11). The second inning much resembled the first, with the Knights scoring four runs before recording an out and nine total in the inning to take a 24-1 lead.

Mantell looked like she would cruise to a second straight 1-2-3 inning, but a two-out rally by the Falcons plated three and cut the Knights lead to 24-4. The Knights would respond with two in the bottom of the third to take a 26-4 lead, thanks to a two-out rally of their own. More runs could have been scored as the Knights were unable to capitalize on a chance with the bases-loaded.

The Falcons would not go down without a fight, however, scoring four more in the top of the fourth inning and two in the fifth inning. But, the Knights powerful offense was too much to overcome, and they would win 26-10 to improve to 12-3 on the season.

Outstanding Performers

It seems only fitting that all the seniors contributed on Senior Night. Here’s how they all performed:

Rachel Kokernak (CF): 3-3, 2B, BB, 4 R

Hope O’Brien (C): 1-3, 2 BB, 3 R, 3 RBI

Amber Butler (LF): 2-3, 2 BB, 2 R, 2 RBI

Meg Colihan (3B): 1-3, BB, HBP, 2 R, RBI

Rachel Morris (RF): 1-4, BB, R, 2 RBI

What’s Next?

There’s only one more opportunity to see the 10th ranked ACP Knights before they move on to the State Tournament. They take on Leading Edge Academy next Wednesday, April 25th at Andersen Junior High in their final tune-up before they play their first game of the State Tournament on Saturday, April 28th in Phoenix. Come out and watch your 10th ranked ACP Lady Knights make a run for the State Tournament!

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