The Mingus Union High School softball team picked up its first home victory since the 2015 season in a 2-1 Grand Canyon Region win against Flagstaff High School on Friday, Feb. 24.
The Marauders [2-0, 1-0] took advantage of a couple of defensive misplays by the Eagles to score the game-winning run in the fourth inning.
“Last year if we’d get in a close game, we would struggle, and any year we’ve always struggled in close games,” Marauders head coach John Brown said. “This group, they don’t get too intimidated, they know they can win and they just stick it out ... that is really something we’ve never been able to do, so that’s the most encouraging thing.”
Mingus freshman Dylan Sweeney, who came on to pinch run after fellow freshman designated hitter Jasmine Shults reached base on a single, scored the game-winner after a Flagstaff throwing error.
Marauders senior center fielder Maliah Zillmer hit a single to right center field, but got caught in a rundown that allowed Sweeney to advance to third. Sweeney then tried for home and would have been caught in a rundown were it not for a throwing error, which allowed her to score and Zillmer to reach third.
But with one out, the Flagstaff defense turned a double play to end the threat.
“We left runners on base in scoring position every inning,” Brown said. “Really we just didn’t quite come through otherwise I think the score would’ve been a little more lopsided.”
The Marauders did get a lopsided win in their season opener at Combs High School the day before, rolling past the Coyotes 18-0.
Mingus junior first baseman Kaycee Williams swapped places with senior starting pitcher Krista Earl for the final three innings. Williams retired the final six Eagle batters and allowed just one hit while striking out three to get the save.
Despite the low scoreline, Mingus got seven hits and stranded nine runners on base.
Zillmer mentioned the Marauders’ nerves during the game with it being their home opener and no less against a regional rival, but also that they did a good job of supporting one another throughout.
“We’ve never been so nervous like this before,” Zillmer said. “Definitely bringing energy was a big thing. We were picking each other up and not getting down on each other.”
Earl, Mingus’ ace, allowed one run on four hits and paired one walk with three strikeouts in four innings to earn the win.
“I struggled a little today,” Earl said. “But I felt like my team was super behind me today ... some days you have an off day.”
The Marauders defense was up to the task against balls that were put in play, but committed two errors.
“We played well, I think we had one, maybe two errors but neither one of them cost us anything,” Brown said. “Our outfield really picked us up today, they caught a lot of balls for us.”
Zillmer, Shults and sophomore shortstop Maddie Bejarano each finished with two hits to lead the Marauders offensively.
Mingus' game, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 27 against Greenway High School, was cancelled due to rain. It has been rescheduled for Monday, April 3. Its next game is at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7, at region foe Prescott High School.