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Thu, Aug. 22

Mingus softball opens state tourney with 9-1 win

Mingus freshman Ella Behlow steals third during the Marauders’ 9-1 win over Sahuaro on Tuesday at home. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus freshman Ella Behlow steals third during the Marauders’ 9-1 win over Sahuaro on Tuesday at home. VVN/James Kelley

Mingus Union softball opened the state tournament on Tuesday at home will an all-important win.

The No. 4 Marauders beat No. 13 seeded Tucson Sahuaro 9-1 on Tuesday afternoon at home in the first round of the 4A state tournament. It’s also Mingus Union’s fifth straight win against Arizona foes.

“It was a good game, we played our plan, we kept the energy up, we went after them every inning I think we only missed one inning where we didn’t score so other than that I’m super proud of them,” Mingus head coach John Brown said.

The Marauders will host No. 12 Casa Grande Vista Grande on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the second round. Mingus Union is 10-0-1 this year at home.

The tournament’s bracket can be found here:

http://www.azpreps365.com/brackets/softball/4a/760-2019-aia-softball-4a-state-championship

The win over Sahuaro moved the Marauders onto the second phase of the tournament, which is double elimination. The first round was single elimination and it saw some higher seeded teams’ seasons end, most notably 5A No. 1 Peoria Sunrise Mountain.

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Mingus senior Maddie Bejarano throws out a runner to compete a double play after diving to catch a ball during the Marauders’ 9-1 win over Sahuaro on Tuesday at home. VVN/James Kelley

“It’s huge, we get through this game we get a second chance if we have a hiccup, we get another home game, which is big for us because right now we’re perfect at home, so this game was a big deal for us,” Brown said.

Vista Grande upset No. 5 Coconino on the road in the first round 11-2. The Spartans hail from the same region as Sahuaro, 4A Kino, and went 1-1 against the Cougars but finished a game ahead of Sahuaro in the region’s standings.

Against Sahuaro, Mingus Union had four players get two RBIs: Jasmine Shults, senior Maddie Bejarano, junior Dylan Sweeney and senior Paige Bartel. Freshman Ella Behlow drove in the other run.

Jasmine Shults also had a perfect fielding percentage.

“Jas has been doing great, she’s having a killer season and she did a good job for us (Tuesday) behind the plate,” Brown said.

Bejarano hit her 20th home run of the season, continuing to build on her school season homer record.

“That’s insane, that kid just hit her 20th home run (Tuesday) and she’s leading the state in home runs, she destroyed the Mingus home run record, so she’s just doing an exceptional job all the way around but her home runs are a big deal too,” Brown said.

Sweeney also hit a home run.

Sophomore Chloe Shults started, pitching three innings, giving up two hits, no runs or walks and striking out three. Freshman Alexis Ayersman relieved her, pitching four innings, giving up two hits, no earned runs and two walks and striking out four.

“I think they both did well Chloe started and she got the win because we were winning by the time Alexis came in,” Brown said. “Alexis came in and closed them down, shut them down, so they both did a great job for us and they’re both able to pitch on Thursday now.”

Although the first round game was on a weekday, the crowd may have been bigger than the one that attended last year’s first round game at Mingus Union, which was on a Saturday.

“Yeah it’s huge, our crowd has been our 10th man this year, it’s such a good crowd, they get into the game, they got the Fatheads out there, they’re involved in the game, they’re watching it on Facebook,” Brown said. “We just have a tremendous fan base right now.”

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