Tombstone High School softball wrapped up a 4-21 season last week with a 14-0 loss at home against St. David, finishing the year on a 10-game losing streak.
Despite the losing record, first-year head coach Eddie Valenzuela drew many positive takeaways from the season.
“We (lost) a lot of one-run games. Those are the games that are actually gonna help us out,” Valenzuela said. “I think we’re gonna win those one-run games next year. We’ll use them as a learning tool.”
Due to the small size of Tombstone High School, Valenzuela said that many student athletes participate in multiple sports, which in his opinion is a large disadvantage.
The student athletes cannot concentrate their effort towards one sport, causing a lack of focus, commitment and time toward honing specific skills in a sport.
“It’s always tough with small schools,” he said. “I try to work with them, develop them, hopefully get better before they head off to their other sports.”
Rather than be discouraged by the losing year, many of the players are using the season as motivation to improve.
“Our last game was on Monday and on Wednesday they were already making plans to get in the weight room and start a weightlifting program over the offseason,” Valenzuela said.
The team will lose just one senior going forward into 2015, Gabby Chavez. Chavez led the team in home runs with three and pitched 91.1 of the 113.2 total innings for the Yellow Jackets this season. This loss may an issue for the team next season.
“We relied a lot on her and now that she’s graduating we’ve got to develop a new pitcher,” Valenzuela said.
Chavez intends to continue her athletic career at Pima Community College in either volleyball or softball.
The team will bring back many key players including Abby Gonzalez who led the team in batting average (.571), on base percentage (.589) and slugging percentage (.842).
“She works real hard and she’ll be a big contributor next year,” Valenzuela said
Haley “Smalls” Stites, who hit an even .400 and was 15-for-15 in stolen base attempts, will be back for her senior season, along with Tammy Darlington, who
hit .448 in an outstanding freshman campaign.