As Sam Sees It

This is a “proud grandpa” column and my chance to share a happy event with my readers.

On Sunday, Feb. 6, my wife, daughter and I got to see my granddaughter, Juliet Sullenberger, play her first regular season college softball game. On Tuesday, Feb. 8, my daughter and I got to see her play her second and third college games.

Juliet was the designated hitter for the first two games and the first baseman for the Scottsdale Community College Lady Artichokes in the third.

She had a single in two official trips to the plate in each of the three games. She also had a walk in each of the last two. She drove in two runs in the second game and scored one and drove in one in the third contest.

The Lady Artichokes lost their first game 5-0 to El Paso Community College, but bounced back to sweep a double-header from Gateway Community College 8-4 and 10-2. You could see the improvement in the team’s play and in their growing confidence.

Almost all of the Scottsdale players are freshmen, which augurs well for continued improvement and success.

It was pleasing to see that the players relate well and support each other.

The college has a coach who is in his first year there, but has already proved to me that he knows how to coach and motivate his players. Bob Swan knows how to criticize a mistake without doing harm to the player’s confidence and self-esteem.

The girls, obviously, have a great deal of respect for the old marine who is their mentor.

Knowing that Juliet is in the hands of people like Swan, Women’s Athletic Director Darcel Coco and assistant coaches Chad Lucas, Matt Smith, Rick Beach and Nicki Lane is comforting for a loving grandpa. From what I have seen and heard, she likes all of them and they like her.

There are at least three other Winslow High School graduates currently participating in Scottsdale Community College athletics. Brandon Guzman was the starting offensive guard for the league champion Artichoke football team. He has another year at Scottsdale and has already attracted major college attention.

Donna Benally and Starla McCurtain are also Lady Artichokes on the SCC basketball team. All of these students are freshman at Scottsdale although Guzman graduated a year ahead of the girls from Winslow High School.

University of New Mexico wide receiver A. C. Carter is also a graduate of Scottsdale and Winslow High School.

Winslow graduates have done well at a number of different colleges and junior colleges. Sandra and Ricky Greer both played at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. Steve Garnett and Francine McCurtain are playing basketball for Northern Arizona University. Mike Beeson played baseball for Central Arizona Community College. Erica Armenta is a star player for Texas A and M at Corpus Christi. Adam Reeves played well for a good Mesa Community College football team. John Sullivan enjoyed a very good season at Haskell University in Kansas.

There is no doubt all of these athletes have parents and grandparents who are as proud of them as I am of my granddaughter and as pleased with their choices. I can’t help but applaud the Scottsdale Community College coaches and staff for making her experience an enjoyable and rewarding one. She is proud to be a Lady Artichoke.

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