Matt Huffman Community Night at the Ballpark on deck Wednesday

Batting PracticeThe Maricopa Rams Home Run Booster Club will be hosting Matt Huffman Community Night at the Ballpark Wednesday when both varsity softball and baseball teams host the Casa Grande Cougars.

Huffman, the former Maricopa High senior who was headed to Indiana State University on both an academic and athletic scholarship for baseball died while running in January 2002. The field where the baseball team plays, which opened in 2010, was re-dedicated to Huffman where his name and legacy will continue to inspire.

The event is open to the community. Youth are encouraged to wear their uniforms or school spirit to school to show their support of Rams’ athletics.

The first game of the day will be at 3:45 p.m. when the junior varsity baseball team hosts the Casa Grande JV squad. The varsity teams will take the field at 6 p.m. with several events prior to the first pitch.

Every student in attendance will receive a raffle ticket with several prizes available including two 7-inch Android tablets, iTunes gift cards, a summer splash basket of goodies and gift cards from Yogurt Jungle among the giveaways.

Photo courtesy of Sam Dugan

Photo courtesy of Sam Dugan

Each team will honor the teachers that have made a difference in their education at 5:30 p.m. and two lucky youths will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for both games at 5:55 p.m.

The rivalry between the Rams and Cougars is an intense one with the Rams leading the Cougars in all sports, 21-17-1 since the 2007 season. The Rams have won the past four events against Casa Grande including baseball in April, boys and girls soccer in January and girls basketball in December.

The softball team is coming off their biggest win of the season when it defeated Coronado High School in Scottsdale on Monday night, 21-3. The Lady Rams improved to 11-7 and 1-2 in section standings.

The Casa Grande Cougars (10-10, 0-4 section VI) are in the midst of a rollercoaster season coming into the game on a five-game losing streak when they had won the seven games prior.

The Lady Rams are led by sophomore pitcher Amber Cramer’s section-leading 1.48 ERA with junior Victoria Andrade currently in the No. 5 spot at 2.45. On the offensive side of the ball, junior first baseman Isabel McCloskey is tied for the most RBI with 25, while senior third baseman, Madi Byrd ranks fifth in runs scored with 22.

Next up for the Rams is traveling to Vista Grande (11-6, 2-2 section VI) in Casa Grande on Friday at 6 p.m. and hosting Williams Field (9-4, 4-4 section IV) from Gilbert on Monday.

photo courtesy of Karyn Sather Speer

photo courtesy of Karyn Sather Speer

The baseball squad snapped its four-game losing streak when it defeated Coronado 7-5 on Monday afternoon at Huffman Field. Senior pitcher Tristan Hartley went the distance pitching his first complete game of the season and improved his record to 3-1. Hartley fanned eight batters while only giving up seven hits and three earned runs. From the plate, Hartley went 1-of-3 with a walk and two stolen bases that led to scoring two runs.

The Rams trailed 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning but rallied to score five runs in the fifth and added two more in the sixth. While the Rams only totaled three hits on the game, the Dons’ pitching staff issued six walks and allowed six more to reach on error.

Senior pitcher Dallas Speer is the projected starter against Casa Grande (7-9-1, 2-2 section VI) and currently is tied for the lead in Section VI with 43 strikeouts on the season. The Cougars baseball team also enters the game on a losing streak of their own; it has lost the last two games and three of its past six.

Next up for the baseball team is hosting the Vista Grande Spartans (5-12, 1-4 section VI) on Friday at 3:45 p.m. and traveling to Williams Field High School (11-7, 7-0 section IV) on Monday, also at 3:45 p.m.

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