Mingus Union High School’s softball team learned a lesson that perhaps will benefit it later in the season: Big hits do not always translate to big scores, or wins.
The Marauders [6-3, 3-2 Grand Canyon] split a Grand Canyon Region doubleheader with visiting Mohave High School on Saturday, March 25; the Thunderbirds won 5-4 in game one while Mingus took game two, 6-5. Both teams hit two home runs en route to their losses.
“We’ve been hitting a lot of home runs lately, and I think they got a little complacent and just wanted to hit the long ball,” Marauders head coach John Brown said. “And a lot of girls popped up in those situations with runners on, so we’ve got to get back to the basics.”
Mingus got off to a fast start in game one when sophomore shortstop Maddie Bejarano hit a leadoff home run. But Mohave bounced back to score three runs, all with two outs, in the second.
The Marauders stranded two in the second before Mohave tacked on two more runs to go up 5-1. A pair of errors gave the Thunderbirds two runners on with two outs, and again came through with a hit.
“Yeah, we definitely had some errors but I think it was just some nerves,” Mingus senior center fielder Maliah Zillmer said.
Mingus pulled two runs back in the third. With two runners on, junior first baseman Kaycee Williams hit a sacrifice fly and Zillmer doubled.
Bejarano homered again in the fourth, but four runners were stranded during the last innings.
“I was feeling pretty confident, my swing has been feeling pretty good,” Bejarano said. “I wasn’t trying to hit the home runs. Whenever I go up to bat I always say, ‘Hard line drive up the middle,’ so if it happens, it happens.”
All told, Mingus stranded eight runners in game one.
“In the first game we were definitely trying to hit really hard balls out of the park and in the second game we worked really hard to hit base hits,” Zillmer said.
The Marauders got eight hits and stranded two in game two.
Mingus again went up 1-0 in the first. Bejarano walked and scored two batters later. Williams then doubled the score with an RBI single.
Mohave tied the game on a two-run home run by junior center fielder Jordan Lakes, also hitting a three-run shot in the fifth to round out the Thunderbirds’ score.
In the third, the Marauders scored four to increase the lead to 6-2. After a walk, Zielinski sparked a stretch of three consecutive doubles.
Shults and Williams rounded out the streak.
“That’s what we work on all the time,” Brown said. “And so for them to do that shows the work that we put in.”
Mingus managed just two more base runners, and Brown commended Williams’ pitching to see the game out.
“Really the difference came in Kaycee’s pitching today,” Brown said. “In that second game she really held on even though she gave up that home run. She was able to stay focused and she kept us in the ball game.”