The Mingus Union baseball team travelled to the state tournament as one of the top-8 teams in Division-III, earning a No. 6 seed after a winning season, and after a blowout win over an overmatched Morenci, the Marauders were not able to get past the Falcons from Fountain Hills and were knocked out of the tournament.
"Our expectations are always to win it all and when we don't, we're disappointed," said head coach Bob Young. "We've made the playoffs so often that getting to the playoffs is not a big deal anymore, winning a game is not a big deal, so its kind of a downer for us when we don't win it all, but that's the way it goes. Kids played hard and we got better. We'll just keep moving on."
The Mingus Union baseball team rolled past the Morenci Wildcats, 11-1, only allowing the one run scored in the first inning, to begin their playoffs.
The Marauders entered the tournament as a No. 6 seed and Morenci was No. 11. The Wildcats earned their second round showing after a comeback win against Holbrook the night before.
Junior Austin Zwart led the Marauders from the mound, pitching all five innings. Through the game, Austin allowed only two hits and six walks, while striking out two batters against 23 faced.
Austin started to slump during the fourth inning but was able to get out of the inning and regroup. He came back in the fifth and quickly shutdown the Wildcats. The junior pitcher committed one of the Marauders three errors and when up to bat, went 2-for-3 from the plate with two RBI's and one run.
Seniors Jesse Morones and Robert Valentine joined Austin by hitting over .500. Like the junior, the seniors both went 2-for-3 and scored two runs each. Robert also tallied a RBI. Also notching multiple RBI's were Tyler Herndon and Tom McCarty. Tyler brought in two runners in two at bats and Tom hit four runners home in two at bats.
Hoping to use the momentum from the big win the previous day, the Marauders squared off against the No. 3 Fountain Hills Falcons, but were unable to keep the ball rolling and lost 13-2 in the quarterfinals.
"We scored two runs, you've got to score more than two runs," Young said. "We didn't hit the ball really well and their pitcher did a good job. They had two big innings that we just couldn't overcome, they're just a better team than we were today."
Neither team got on the board through the first two innings, but in the third inning both teams got runners to home plate. Mingus Union was first up and tallied its lone two runs of the game by Robert and Andrew Garcia. Not to be out-dueled, the Falcons scored four runs in the inning, followed by five in the next inning.
Over the course of the fifth and sixth innings, both teams held each other, but in the seventh inning, Fountain hills brought in four more runners to ice the game.
As a team, the Marauders went 6-for-24 with a .250 batting average. Austin notched the only RBI for the team and three players; Austin, Taylor Mathe and Tom, each hit a double and Tyler hit a triple.
Marshall Shill started on the mound for Mingus, but over the course of 3.1 innings, the junior gave up eight runs, six earned, against 19 batters, while only striking out two and walking three. Tyler replaced Marshall after one out in the fourth and allowed one more run before ending the inning.
In his last appearance on the mound as a senior, Tyler threw two innings and faced 13 batters. Of those 13 Falcons, three connected with pitches, bringing in three runs and one off of an error, while striking out three and walking three. The final three runs scored against Tyler were in the seventh inning and Young brought in Francisco Pacheco to finish the game. The game-winning run was scored against Francisco, who also struck out one batter.
The Marauders ended the season 18-10-1 and 6-1 in conference. Of the boys 10 losses, four losses and a tie were from tournament play and four were to Division-II foes Bradshaw Mountain, Coconino and Prescott. The only Division-III teams to beat Mingus were Camp Verde, in an 11-8 upset, and Fountain Hills during the final game of the season for the Marauders.
"We're moving up to Division-II, so we're going to have to step it up a notch. We'll do what we have to do, we'll work hard in the offseason, play in the summer, lift weights and do all the things that we can. We'll do everything we can to get better," Young said.
Of the 22 players on the roster, eight will be graduating this spring. The eight graduating seniors are; Tyler, Robert, Francisco, Andrew, Jesse, Shane Trimble, Andres Zorrilla and Taylor Zale.