Milestone Contest Precedes AJ Victories Over Metro Tech, Estrella Foothills, Youngker
By Daniel Dullum
When Apache Junction defeated Tempe Marcos de Niza on March 1, it marked a coaching milestone for Ed Matlosz.
The victory, the Lady Prospectors’ fourth of the season, was No. 200 for Matlosz as AJHS coach.
“This all goes back to 2006 when we won 22 games. They all add up after a while. We’ve had some terrific players through the years, and I have a heck of a staff. I just let them coach and I organize.
“Basically, I just guide the ship. It’s really a blessing to guide this ship.”
Matlosz guided that ship to No. 201 and counting on March 5, when the Lady Prospectors routed Phoenix Metro Tech 22-0.
Freshman Tristan Greer was 4-for-4 with three runs batted in; Zoe Siegel hit her first home run and drove in four runs; Mikayla Gilgert was 2-for-2 with a home run and three RBIs; and Sarah Nieman drove in three runs while going 3-for-3. Cori Haro and MacKenzie Dillon each drove in two runs for AJ.
Denae Preuhs scored four times, Elexis Toro doubled twice and scored three times, and Haro, Greer, Siegel, Gilgert, Nieman, and Julie Gonwa each scored twice.
On the mound, Greer worked the first 3 1/3 innings to earn her first varsity win. Toro threw the final 1 2/3 innings.
Daisy Ruelas-Estrada’s RBI single in the sixth inning provided AJ’s offense, while Mikayla Gilgert tossed a five-hit shutout against the Wolves in Goodyear. Denae Preuhs walked and scored the Lady Prospectors’ only run off Estrella Foothills pitcher Sonia Solis.
Gilgert scattered four hits, struck out 10 and walked two in seven innings.
Elexis Toro was 2-for-4, while Gilgert and Priscilla Saldate each went 1-for-2.
Again, it was Gilgert getting it done on the mound and at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. In four scoreless innings, Gilgert struck out eight with no walks, and surrendered one hit in the Lady Prospectors’ non-region win over Youngker at Buckeye.
Elexis Toro worked the final three innings to get the win. She gave up an unearned run on three hits, and had one strikeout. Toro was also 1-for-3 with two runs scored.
Priscilla Saldate was 2-for-3 with two runs batted in, and Daisy Ruelas-Estrada had the other Apache Junction RBI.
The Lady Prospectors (7-4) travel to Payson Thursday for the annual Grace Lee Haught Invitational Tournament, which runs through Saturday. AJ’s first three games are against 3A Show Low (4-0), 1A Joseph City (2-1) and 2A Camp Verde (5-0), which has outscored its opponents 63-6 in its first five games.
Above photo: Apache Junction High softball coach Ed Matlosz addresses his squad after the Lady Prospectors knocked off Phoenix Metro Tech on March 5. Matlosz earned win No. 200 at AJ against Marcos de Niza. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)