The Cienega Bobcats Softball program may be playing it's second and final season in Division I under the new AIA State Prep format.
Prior to 2012, The Bobcats competed in Class 4-A Division I along with local power Canyon del Oro, a matchup that twice (2009 and 2011) kept Cienega from winning state championships.
Cienega won the state title in 2010 beating Peoria Sunrise Mountain who had prevented an all-Southern Arizona Final that year by knocking out the Dorados in the semi finals.
Now the Bobcats and CDO play in different Divisions all together although a dip in enrollment at the Vail school could see they dropping down to Division II as early as next season.
The Bobcats were eliminated in the 1st round of last year's State Playoffs but at 23-3 appear to have a club prepared to return to the top step.
Cienega finishes the regular season Monday and Tuesday with games against Tucson High School and Rincon.
The Bobcats' only three losses came in tournament play; a 2-0 setback to Lakewood (CA) at the Tournament of Champions in Bullhead City, a 6-1 defeat to Yorba Linda (CA) and a 6-0 shutout at the hands of Bakersfield (CA) Foothill, both coming at the Michelle Carew Classic in Anaheim, CA.
One of the major keys for Eric Tatham squad this year has been the return of Sarah Andrews in the circle. The senior missed a large chunk of last season due to injury but has bounced back to post a 12-2 record this season with just six walks in 89 innings.
Sophomore Kayla Green (9-1) has been equally impressive in the circle posting a strike out per inning.
The Bobcats hit .385 as a team and average just under eight runs a game. A.J. Hervey (.477), Makena Brawley (.443) and Mickaela Keiser (.494) are all hitting above .400 while Brawley has 15 extra-base hits and is tied with Andrews for the team lead in home runs with four.
Andrews believes if their is an area that can be slightly improved heading into the tournament it's Cienega's fielding.
If the defense gets any better than the Bobcats will surely be hoisting the trophy at ASU's Farrington Stadium on May 13th because Cienega has committed just 12 errors all season. By comparison the Arizona Wildcats committed 23 errors in their first 26 games.
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