|Junior Kaetana Skornik readies for the incoming pitch against Bradshaw Mountain. VVN/Travis Guy|
The Mingus softball team got its revenge on the Bradshaw Mountain Bears, shutting them out, 10-0, at home.
"This was redemption for us," said head coach John Brown. "It was an ugly game back and forth [the first game], but today we played well."
They got on the board early and did not let up, which is what the team needed following a 12-10 loss to Flagstaff High School.
Against Bradshaw, the Marauders were the dominant force they have been for most of the season.
Lately, it has take the girls a few innings to really find their groove and start driving runs in, but they were in full swing from beginning to end, behind strong hitting and a dominant defense.
"I think we're at a point where we're peaking now," said senior Torey Gillies. "We're not really regressing; we're going forward from here. Yesterday was a learning lesson and today we got back on track to where we were."
Torey led the way going 4-for-4 from the plate. While the whole team is able to get on base and drive runs in, Torey is the beginning of the Marauders most formidable part of their line-up. Following the second baseman are seniors Catelyn Norman and Kaitlynn Lewis. This trio has combined for 91 hits, 61 RBI's, giving them a .473 batting average in 224 plate appearances.
"Honestly, I don't think," the senior slugger said about her thought process at the plate. "I just get up there knowing that I need to get on, because there's also great hitters behind me, like Catelyn and Worm (Kaitlynn Lewis). I know I just need to get on, [it] helps that much more to score."
Juniors Kaetana Skornik and Kayter Zillmer may not have a set position in the lineup or out in the field, but the girls are still as crucial to the team in their roles as a courtesy runners for Angelina Saucedo and Taylor Bailey. The two have combined for 27 runs and 12 stolen bases.
"I'm always into the game, I'm always interested in it," Kaetana said. "I love playing, obviously, but running is one of my favorite things to do, I love to do it, its fun."
With four games left and sitting in the No. 9 spot in Division-III right now (according to AIA rankings), the girls need to move up one spot to secure a first round bye for the playoffs. Coach Brown and the girls believe that they are peaking at the right time.
"You have to be top-24 to make the show. If we continue to play well I think we'll definitely make the show, I'd like to be in the top-8, you get a bye the first round, Brown said. "They're starting to play good defense, they're starting to hit the ball well and make adjustments in the middle of the game, which is everything we've worked on from the beginning. Its fun to see it start to actually work."
Following the game, the team could be heard telling each other they are going to win out the rest of their games.
"I feel like we're going to win all four of our last games, we should, and we're going to go into the state tournament, we're going to be strong," Kaetana said. "I feel like it's a good year for us."
Of the remaining games, Wickenburg is the only the school the Marauders have not faced. The other three schools; Coconino, Prescott and Flagstaff, the team has faced and Coconino is the only school they hold a win over. The contest against Flagstaff will be extra motivating because it is the final game of the year on Senior Day.
"Yesterday was, I don't even know how to explain it ... crazy I guess, very unexpected. It was very tough, very intense, but you win some, you lose some," Torey said. "I'm very proud of the girls because it was one of the games where we fought. We're a team that's learning how to keep going and not giving up, and I think yesterday, that's what it showed. We were losing, came back, tied it, and then slowly coming back, just not in time. I think coming back is getting there for us better."