The Mingus Union Marauders softball team completed a weekend sweep, beating Camp Verde and Arcadia High Schools in games where they were able to swing the momentum in their favor.
Mingus ended the weekend slate when it hosted Division-II, Section-III Arcadia High School. The Titans are ranked just outside of the top-10 in the D-II, S-III rankings, but as the game progressed, the visiting team was the team in control.
"[Going into this game,] we wanted to show that we're a stronger team than how we played yesterday and that no matter who we play, we can play just as well."
After a scoreless first inning, Arcadia was first on the board with three runs. The Marauders answered back when it was their turn to bat. Catcher Taylor Bailey nailed a two-base hit to the outfield and drove in three runs, knotting the score.
"This is what I expect to of this team," said head coach John Brown. "To be able to come back, in the middle of a game, when they are struggling, and they did, finally. I'm hoping it's a change for us."
Despite tying the game, Mingus Union was not able to get much of anything else going, allowing Arcadia to score three more runs over the next two innings. The Marauders were able to make key plays defensively to stop the Titans from building any momentum, thanks to fieldwork by junior Kaitlynn Lewis and outfielder Kalina Boysen.
The Marauders were not able to score any runs during the fourth inning, but after holding Arcadia in the fifth, cracked the game wide open. Two four-run innings spurred by senior leaders Torey Gillies and Catelyn Norman would ice the game and make it so the Marauders did not have to report for the second half of the seventh inning.
"When I was up, the line drive that I hit, there were two outs and I had two strikes on me, but having the support of my teammates and being able to hear them helped me a lot," Torey said. "Knowing that my team was behind me gave me more confidence."
Senior Angelina Saucedo pitched the entire seven innings, allowing six runs, three earned, on seven hits, nine walks and five strike outs for a 3.00 ERA. Two girls led the team with a .750 batting average, Catelyn and Kaitlynn, going 3-for-4 with Catelyn hitting two RBI's and Kaitlynn earning one. Taylor led the team with three RBI's and also went 2-for-3 at the plate.
"I think it shows that the work that we've been doing is beginning to pay off. At the beginning of the season they faced tougher teams, they get ahead of us and we kind of coast and we cant come back, and today they finally saw that they can come back. That was a tough team. They got a good record, they're in a division above us and we came back to beat them, so that's a big deal."
The day before the Marauders softball team rallied to beat the Titans, they faced off against the Camp Verde Cowboys.
Some of the players may have been expecting the Camp Verde team that showed up to Mingus Union High School to be the same one the Marauders beat in 2012, 11-1. The Cowboys did their best to surprise the home team, but could not score more than one run, giving Mingus Union the 2-1 win.
"Since its Camp Verde, its really important," Bailey said. "There's obviously a rivalry and we needed to win, losing wasn't an option."
Mingus was never able to get a rhythm going on offense due to Camp Verde's pitcher, Madison Garcia, mixing up pitches and keeping he softball team off balance. Angelina was able to do the same when Mingus was on defense, leading to a thrilling pitchers duel and overall defensive battle.
"I'm happy with the 'W.' I'm happy with my pitcher," Brown said. "She did a good job. She held us and gave us a chance. We did not hit the ball well. I'm unhappy with that, but I'm hoping we can get that out of our system."
With the score tied in the bottom of the seventh, Angelina nailed the pitch, driving in the Bailey and the go-ahead run.
"The idea behind the whole inning was to put somebody on and find a way to get a 'W,' that's what we talked about right before the inning," Brown said. "We had two outs and Bailey got on base with a nice bunt with two outs, which is unheard of, and Angelina, she's [been] hitting the ball hard all day so it was just a matter of time when she got ahold of that one. I was [thinking] 'if she hits this, we're going.' Bailey made it all the way from first to score, so you got to give it to her."
As Angelina stepped up to the plate, she knew that she had to get on base, especially with Bailey already on, and the senior pitcher could not stand the thought of losing to Camp Verde.
"The first two battings I did really crappy.," Angelina said. "I heard coach [say] 'get a base hit, get a base hit' and all I could think about was losing to Camp Verde, which would be bad. I kind of put everything out there."
As soon as Angelina connected with the ball, one basic thought went through Bailey's mind.
"Just run. Get to home, no matter what it takes," Bailey said was going through her mind. "I was looking at the base [home plate] thinking 'I'm getting there no matter what, it doesn't matter. Take the catcher out, whatever [I have to do], I'm going to get there.'"
While the Marauders did end the game with a win, it wasn't without a fight from a tougher than expected Camp Verde team.
"They've improved a lot, from the last couple of years, but we're Mingus," Bailey exclaimed. "They have improved a lot. They're fielding, they're hitting [and] everything was much better than it was last year and the year before."
After hosting the Cowboys, the Marauders will travel to Camp Verde on April 8th for a game at 3:45 p.m.
"I hope it gets them fired up, that's all I can hope for," Brown said. "I hope they take it more seriously."