Early part of games will be key
Covering Williams High School in the state playoffs for the past two seasons, a common denominator in the first-round losses have been the opponent striking early and often.
The Vikings must stay within striking distance of the opponent for a chance at getting a win. Another key to the games will be pitching.
For the softball team, Amy Christman and Dee Dee Fogg have had stellar seasons. In her last two starts, Christman has allowed just one hit. Fogg has had several fine moments as well in her freshman season.
The pressure of the state playoffs could be a bit of a factor for the young softball team. But many of the same girls handled the state basketball playoffs in fine fashion despite a loss.
The baseball team will be relying on strong pitching as well. Fred Garcia and Chris Loxterman will be the men on the mound for the Vikings.
Garcia has been a consistent performer this season. Garcia has never seen the Vikings advance past the first round. This would be a good way to end his high-school baseball career.
Johnny Hatcher feels defense will be the big factor. The Vikings have found the ball to be troublesome in the field at times this year. The jitters the state playoffs can create could only make it worst. But there are some good athletes on this team. They will hopefully respond.
Of course, hitting will also be an important part of the game. You can’t score much unless you hit. The baseball team has done pretty well in this area over the course of the season, although there are dry spells here and there.
From top to bottom, I’d say Williams has one of its best hitting lineups in the past three years. And there is some youth in those uniforms.
The softball team has a few more concerns in this area. Hitting has been very light at times this season, especially early on. The Lady Vikings did finally get into a groove over the past few weeks of the season.
Hopefully, we’ll see that carry over into the playoffs.
Unfortunately for WHS sports fans, including myself, the two playoff games in Phoenix will be played at the same time.
The baseball team will be playing at the Peoria Sports Complex at 11 a.m. while the girls will be at the Desert West Complex, also with a first-pitch time of 11 a.m.
In fact, the WHS golf team will also be competing up in Prescott at the same time in the regional tournament.
Even though my playoff teams are playing at the same time, I do like the new format this year. In past years, Williams would have played a No. 1 seed in the opening round.
This year, the No. 1 seeds and select No. 2 seeds bypass that first round. If Williams wins in softball, the Lady Vikes will take on Willcox, the No. 1 seed out of the East Region.
In baseball with a win, Williams will also take on Willcox. And you got it, both games would begin at 3 p.m. Friday.
I’ve mentioned baseball, softball and golf. What about the track team? Well, the Viking tracksters will be in action Saturday at Bradshaw Mountain in the regional meet. State qualifiers will head down to Chandler the following week. Good luck to all.
(Brad Fuqua is sports editor of the Williams-Grand Canyon News).