Home » Featured, Softball

Win or lose now, Desert Ridge season worthy of praise

Posted by on May 7, 2013 – 4:32 pm

Another battle of Brown Road will take center stage on Wednesday night at Rose Mofford, as rivals Mountain View and Red Mountain slug it out in the Division I softball state semifinals.

“Elimination” games, however, continued Tuesday night and into Wednesday, with a third Mesa city school (Gilbert district) still in the mix in Desert Ridge.

Come Wednesday, the Jaguars’ season could be over if they lose to a good Horizon team. Or it could be continuing in to another elimination game.

Either way, Jen Broderick’s team is worth applauding.

Tea leaves weren’t coming up “Desert Ridge” to begin the 2013 season. But the Jaguars turned a lot of heads by beating Red Mountain twice (nobody had done that to the three-time defending champions since 2007), Gilbert, Basha, Chaparral and Perry.

The Jaguars have a freshman pitcher in Bailey Klitzke who already possesses good control and an excellent changeup. When she was hit in the hand by a Bre Macha fastball while batting in a loss to Red Mountain on Monday night, it clearly affected her pitching prowess as the Lions won 11-0.

Despite the blowout loss, the Jaguars have an ace (and future ace) in Klitzke, a good defensive team and a balanced lineup.  It’s why they earned the No. 10 seed in the state tournament (aided by a couple “signature” wins and a stacked strength of schedule rating in the power rankings). But that wasn’t enough, and wins against Highland, Marana and Vail Cienega sent the program into the second week of state tournament play, further than they’ve ever gone before.

Broderick put on a smile after the 11-0 thrashing at the hands of Red Mountain, knowing her team’s rough night had to be quickly forgotten to have any chance of keeping this run rolling again on Tuesday night.

“The kids haven’t been around a lot of winning,” she said. “You have to given them the confidence to believe in themselves; remind them that they are good because they’ve shown it.”

To that end, the Jaguars are a work-in-progress. So unless they pull a remarkable run through this gauntlet of an elimination bracket — and Horizon, Chaparral and Mountain Ridge is a gauntlet — let’s not yet appoint them as state title contenders just yet for 2014.

But the kids are being worked hard with what Broderick called a “back- to-basics” approach. “If we can do the basics, we can do anything.”

The ascension is slowly underway, and to become a third Mesa city school to be reckoned with in softball (along with Red Mountain and Mountain View) is something normally reserved for football in Chandler and baseball in Scottsdale.

In other words, a real rarity.

Tags: , , , , ,


  • Oldschool says:

    Not true Heller the Jags were in the same spot about 2 or 3 years ago when they went to the quarterfinals. Check your facts first. They beat the top team in the state that year to get there. It was Gilbert and they had that Stud pitcher, (not sure of her name though).

    • Mark Heller says:

      Good call you’re absolutely correct. Apologies. Though I’d still argue this year’s run was more impressive in a few other ways (notably the teams this year’s group beat and/or played very closely), and more difficult competition overall.
      I believe Michelle Duncan was pitching for Gilbert that year, and, D-Ridge’s Jackie Hernandez had a big day against Gilbert in that 2-1 tournament win over the Tigers playing as a freshman (now a senior).

Leave a comment

Add your comment below. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar