The world of sports is saddened with the news of the death of former Arizona Cardinal Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. Tillman walked away from millions of dollars to play professional football to join the army and go to the defense of our country. Words cannot adequately describe the enormity of his sacrifice. As for honors, the Cardinals are building a new stadium. If ever anyone earned the honor of having such a facility bear his name, Pat Tillman did.
Sports fans in Winslow should get their fill of baseball, softball and track this weekend. All Winslow High School varsity teams will be in action on Friday and the baseball and softball teams will still be playing on Saturday.
The Winslow Invitational Track Meet is a state-qualifying meet that attracts some of the finest track and field athletes in this part of the state. It is an event in which the Winslow teams are well motivated to excel. Winslow has many fine athletes on both the boysÕ and girlsÕ teams. Olympic hopeful Stephanie Garnett will be out to show the home town fans what a talented performer she is.
The 3A North Region Baseball and Softball Tournaments will continue in Winslow on Friday and Saturday. They started on Tuesday and Wednesday at the homes of the higher seeds for teams that did not finish either first or second in the regular season. The semi-finals will be held on Friday with the Championship and third place games to be played on Saturday. All four teams participating in this portion of the tournament will have qualified for the state tournaments beginning the following Friday.
The Winslow Bulldogs baseball team has cruised past every 3A North Region opponent. At the time of this writing, all of the wins had been shortened to five innings due to the ÒmercyÓ rule.
The Lady Bulldogs have had a more difficult time collecting several of their wins, but they remained undefeated in the region at this writing.
Seven seniors on the Winslow baseball team will be playing for the last time before the home town fans on Saturday. Fernando Lopez has been a stellar member of the Bulldogs mound corps and one of the most proficient hitters as well. Nathan Garner is a veteran catcher who swings a wicked and powerful bat for Coach Art Griffith. Michael Soehner is another important member of the Bulldogs pitching rotation and a dangerous bat in the line-up. Lambert Dixson is a senior southpaw who also sees duty in the outfield and is a valuable member of the Bulldogs team. Quinton Oso is an infielder who has contributed to the Winslow success. George Vasquez is and outfielder who pulls his weight on the team. Dustin Cole is an outfielder who always gives a maximum effort and makes his presence felt.
There are only four seniors on the Winslow Lady Bulldogs softball team, but all have been valuable to Coach Becky BarrisÕ squad. Catcher Nicole Curnutte has been a four-year starter and is among the best receivers in the state. She is fearless behind the plate and on the bases. One of the best hitters in the region, Curnutte is also blessed with outstanding speed. Outfielder Rae Cutfinger has really come into her own this season. She has an outstanding arm and is a very good defensive outfielder. Cutfinger has hit the ball well this season, both in average and power. Pitcher Juliet Sullenberger has shown that she can win the big game. She is not really a strikeout pitcher, but has excellent control and knows how to get the job done. She has been swinging one of the best bats on the team this entire season. Outfielder Arsenia Pacheco has made the most of limited playing time. She has one of the highest batting averages on the team and has made her presence felt in a most positive way. Outfielder Kathy Taylor has come on strong and given the Lady Bulldogs an effective lead-off man and an outstanding defensive player.
Pitching, defense and Òthe breaksÓ will tell how far either of these teams can go. Both Art Griffith and Becky Barris and their assistants have done outstanding jobs and, undoubtedly, will continue to do so. Both teams are capable of winning it all, especially if Òthe breaksÓ happen to come their way.