C/3B Marquez named Player of the Week; pitcher Miller nabs Pitcher of the Week honors
Yuma, Arizona – March 11, 2013 -- Arizona Western College is proud to announce that AWC Softball player April Marquez (MAHR-kehz) has been named the ACCAC Division I Softball Player of the Week, while Marquez teammate, Hayley Miller, has been named the ACCAC Division I Softball Pitcher of the Week, for the week ending March 9th. Marquez is the 2nd Lady Matador position player to win the ACCAC Player of the Week Award in as many weeks after Courtnie Ploesch earned the accolade last week; and Miller is the first Matador pitcher to be named Pitcher of the Week since Amber Taynton won the award nearly two years ago today. It’s also the first time that a pair of Lady Matadors has won the awards in the same week since outfielder Jessica Soria and pitcher Shaylee Yellowhair took the same awards home in the same week at the end of March three years ago.
It’s ironic that the Lady Matadors would sweep the awards on a week when half of their opportunities to improve their statistics toward the awards were eliminated when storms washed away their scheduled doubleheader Saturday in Coolidge against Central Arizona College. Nevertheless, both Marquez & Miller made impressive work of defending Region I Champion Pima Tuesday in a short amount of time. Marquez’s award is a signal to the rest of the conference that she is starting to emerge as the team’s offensive leader-just a little over a month after she began her Matador career. The native of Montebello, California, had to work to build her confidence about being able to hit college pitching, but once she gained that, the sky was the limit. At a time when most hitters’ batting average begin to come down from a hot start, Marquez has raised her batting average over 150 points in the last month. She certainly helped that in a big way Tuesday against Pima, setting the tone for the day in the home half of the first inning of Game 1 with her 4th home run of the year. It would get no easier for Aztecs’ pitchers to retire Marquez, since she finished off Game 1 with a single in the 3rd (coming home on Robyn Alvara’s 2-run homer), a 5th-inning walk, and finally, an RBI single in the 7th that tied the game, and she’d come home to score the game-winner just 2 batters later. Marquez topped that performance in the nightcap, netting hits in all four at-bats, with three singles and a double while scoring a run. On the day, Marquez reached base eight times, and was a perfect 7-for-7, scoring four times and driving in 2 other runs. For the season, Marquez is now 2nd on the team with a .452 batting average (and tops among everyday players). She is also tied for the team lead in four other offensive categories: home runs (4, with Alvara), hits (42, with Ploesch), runs batted in (28, with Alvara) and stolen bases (12, with Ploesch).
Meanwhile, Marquez’s battery mate, Miller, knew that getting a Game 1 victory over the defending Region I Division I Champions from Tucson would be a huge boost to a young team’s confidence as she took the hill Tuesday. The Valencia, California native continued to work out of jams from the vaunted Pima offense, stranding five Aztecs’ baserunners over the first three innings. Miller seemed to get stronger as the game went along, facing just seven hitters in the 5th & 6th innings combined. When Alex Roman’s walkoff single in the bottom of the 7th inning sealed a 5-4 victory for the Lady Matadors, Miller was still the one at the controls on the mound for the Lady Mats, posting her 7th complete-game performance in her 12 starts. It also gave her 10 wins on the season, which makes Miller the fastest Matador pitcher to hit that number since Courtney Davis accomplished the same feat in 2006. For the game, Miller went all seven innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits. For the season, Miller has a record of ten wins and three losses, with a 2.90 earned run average, and is second on the team in strikeouts with 34.
Marquez & Miller now get ready to lead the Lady Matadors into battle on the road as they head to Thatcher tomorrow for their only conference doubleheader of the week against archrival Eastern Arizona College. After spending the weekend in Casa Grande at the non-conference Deanna Mauer Classic, the Lady Matadors will return home a week from tomorrow, Tuesday, March 19th, to begin a six-game homestand against the Gateway Lady Geckos. First pitch for the ACCAC Softball doubleheader at the AWC Softball Field on the AWC campus (2020 South Avenue 8E in Yuma) is scheduled for noon, and admission to all regular season home softball games is FREE.