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Thu, Nov. 21

Mingus softball gets No. 4 seed in state tourney

Mingus senior Maddie Bejarano catches a grounder. Bejarano won the Arizona Republic’s softball player of the week award. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus senior Maddie Bejarano catches a grounder. Bejarano won the Arizona Republic’s softball player of the week award. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus Union softball will open the state tournament at home and possibly host two playoff games.

The Marauders earned the No. 4 seed for the playoffs and will host No. 13 Tucson Sahuaro on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

“I thought the brackets were good for us,” Mingus head coach John Brown said. “I think we’re in a good place, we get one to two home games, depending on how well we do in the first game, so that’s an advantage for us. So I’m pretty happy with the way they came out.”

As a top four seed, the Marauders would host two state tournament games (if they beat the Cougars) before the tourney shifts to Phoenix.

Last year was the first time the Marauders hosted a state tournament game since 2010 and now they are hosting in back-to-back seasons and potentially twice. Mingus Union is 9-0-1 at home in 2019.

“It’s awesome, we’ve had a great fan base, especially this year, so to have a home game, we haven’t lost at home all year and we tend to win games we’re not supposed to win here so I’m pretty excited about the odds of that,” Brown said.

The tournament is single elimination for the first round, then it moves to double elimination before going back to single elimination with a winner take all championship game.

Sahuaro started the postseason as the No. 18 seed and beat No. 15 Phoenix Greenway, the champions of the Skyline Region, 12-0 in the play-in game. The Cougars are 6-12 in power points games this year but hail from the Kino Region, which features five teams in the 16-team state tournament, including No. 1 Tucson Salpointe Catholic and No. 6 Oro Valley Canyon Del Oro.

“Don’t know anything about them, I know they got beat up this year, they had an 8-11 record, but they played some really tough teams and that’s why they were ranked so high,” Brown said. “So I expect them to battle with us but at the same time it doesn’t look like they have overwhelming pitching based on their stats and we’re a good hitting team, so I kind of expect that we should have some success.”

Not to be out done, the Grand Canyon Region has four teams in the last 16: No. 3 Bradshaw Mountain, the Marauders, No. 5 Coconino and No. 14 Flagstaff. Coconino will host No. 12 Casa Grande Vista Grande and Bradshaw Mountain will host Flagstaff in the opening round.

“How amazing is that that the Grand Canyon Region is three, four, five in the state, we’re all back to back, we all played each other hard and we split with Coconino and we split with Bradshaw and we’re all three right there together, so it’s a good showing for the northern Arizona teams,” Brown said.

The Marauders prepared for the Arizona state tournament by playing at the Las Vegas Jamboree Apr. 18 to 20. The Marauders lost 3-2 to El Centro (Calif.) Southwest EC, beat Las Vegas Bishop Gorman 11-1, defeated Imperial (Calif.) 9-0, lost 11-10 to West Jordan (Utah) Copper Hills and beat Livingston (Calif.) 7-2.

“It went pretty well, we were 3-3 and played some really tough teams, got to see some great competition, which is why we go there and I think it gave us some perspective on what to expect when we see good teams at State,” Brown said.

Although the Marauders will have a 10-day layoff, Brown said it is a positive and is not worried they will cool down.

“No it’s the opposite, it was good for rest,” Brown said. “We kinda planned it this way with the Vegas tournament being after the regular season so I’m happy with the way it laid out.”

Bejarano wins state POW award

Senior Maddie Bejarano received statewide recognition this week.

Bejarano was voted Arizona high school softball Week 9 top performer in the Arizona Republic’s poll. Bejarano received 51.73 percent of the vote, edging second place Vivi Martinez of Tolleson who had 45.55 percent.

Bejarano went 22-for-26 in the 8 games that week, hit six home runs, had 16 RBIs, hitt for the cycle in one game and eight steals.

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