Marauders softball opened returned to the state playoffs and wasted little time with the Window Rock Fighting Scouts, beating them 15-0, the largest margin of victory up to that point of the tournament.
"We came in with a game plan, I watched them play yesterday and knew that she was going to throw alto of high stuff, so we just came in and waited for low pitches and waited to hit," said head coach John Brown. "It took a couple innings to adjust, but once we did, it worked, we got our job done."
Senior Angelina Saucedo was two outs away from pitching her fourth no-hitter of the season, but a Fighting Scout was able to find a pitch and put it in between third and shortstop. Despite the lone hit, Angelina threw her fourth one-hitter.
The senior pitcher threw 73 pitches in the gem, in what would be her second to last game as a Marauder. Angelina walked two batters and the above-mentioned hit, while striking out 10 batters against 18 Fighting Scouts.
As evident from the score, the Mingus Union softball team did what they have done 12 times this season by shutting a team out. It took the girls one inning to figure out Window Rock's pitcher, but once they did, the bats were connecting and by the end of the fourth Mingus had put the game well out of reach.
Mingus Union tallied five runs in the second, but was held scoreless in the third. When their fourth inning at-bat came around, the girls put a stamp on the game, driving in 10 runs. The offense was led by three Marauders hitting over .500 and three hitting .500. Sarah Ortiz (1.00, 1-for-1), Bailey Mabery (.750, 3-for-4) and Kaitlynn Lewis (.667, 2-for-3) powered the bats and drove in a combined five runs and scored six runs
Following the blowout, the girls squared off against Winslow High School in the quarterfinals.
The Winslow Bulldogs entered the tournament as a No. 3 seed, and despite the Marauders playing the higher seeded team close, the girls were not able to advance to the next round of the tournament, losing 4-2.
"I don't make excuses, we got the tough side of the bracket, I'll give you that," Brown said. "We would have had to win three state championship games to win a state championship, and this was one of them and so did they [Winslow], that's why they are so excited that they won. We just...we just came short."
After two innings, the game was knotted at 1-1. During the Marauders third inning at bat, the girls were shut down. The Bulldogs answered back during their turn at the plate by bringing in three runs, but only one was earned. The other two runs were hit just out-of-reach of second baseman Randi Moffitt.
Mingus Union would go on to score on more run in the sixth and hold the Bulldogs, but the three runs scored by Winslow in the third would be more than the girls could overcome. Of the seven hits Mingus earned, only one was from the middle of the lineup. The middle of the Marauders lineup starts with Torey Gillies, who is followed by Catelyn and ends with Kaitlynn Lewis. Kaitlynn went 1-for-3 and scored one of the Marauders two runs.
Kaitlynn reached first base off a Bulldog error and proceeded to steal her way home. She stole second and nearly got tagged out, then reached third before stealing home, easily notching the run while the catcher watched, ball in hand, but too far to get the out.
Bailey, who went 2-for-3 at the plate, scored the other run. Joining Bailey with a .667 batting average for the game was Kalina Boysen. The other two hits were from Randi and Angelina. While Mingus had seven hits, the Winslow tallied 10.
"We didn't capture, we left 13 girls on base, we had bases loaded twice and just didn't execute those timely hits that we did all year, nerves got to them," Brown said. "The big show got to them a little bit. Its unfortunate."
Angelina ended the game with a 2.33 ERA. In her last appearance as a Mingus Union softball player, she struck out seven, and gave up two earned runs against 31 batters.
"Bum deal, it was a tough one," Brown said. "It's a big group of seniors to go out like that. They had high intentions."
The Mingus Union Marauders softball team ended the season 16-14, with only five losses coming from teams played in regular games. The other nine losses were from teams the girls played in their tournaments in Las Vegas and Bullhead City. Six girls played in their last game as Marauders; Angelina, Torey, Catelyn, Shelby Hughes, Kalina and Bailey.
"It was amazing. Honestly, I didn't know what to anticipate coming in because I hadn't really coached those girls in any of my other programs and I was a little worried they wouldn't buy into what I was doing and they did. They are all part of my family now. They're great kids, great athletes and they fought their guts for me and I love them to death," said Brown about his seniors and his team.