AJ Ranked No. 6 in 4A Poll
By Daniel Dullum
The AIA began its softball power poll rankings on March 27, and Apache Junction found itself at No. 6. Briefly.
“We actually dropped after the first time we beat Cortez because of the strength of schedule,” AJ Coach Ed Matlosz said. “But these are region games we have to win. We do have some good strength of schedule games coming up, like Casa Grande, Combs. That will help.”
After the deck shuffled over 48 hours, the Lady Prospectors (14-6 overall, 3-0 region) returned to the No. 6 slot as of March 29 following a pair of decisive Black Canyon Region wins over Phoenix Cortez.
The Lady Prospectors hammered Cortez 20-1 on March 27 in Phoenix, and beat the Colts 19-0 two days later at the AJHS diamond.
“We approach these games to work on some skills that we’re going to need down the road,” AJ Coach Ed Matlosz said. “Like Coach Bill (Wilson), our offensive coordinator, said, ‘Our first game, we’re going to bunt, because we might need that bunt to push a run across in a closer ballgame.
“The girls have to understand, because they all want to get up there and hit the gaps and homers, that bunting is what we’re working on.”
The Lady Prospectors face Phoenix Washington twice this week – hosting the Rams on Tuesday and traveling to Phoenix on Thursday.
AJ pounded out 23 hits in its first meeting with the Colts. Denae Preuhs and Priscilla Saldate each drove in five runs, Mikayla Gilgert had three RBIs and Sarah Nieman drove in two runs.
Preuhs went 2-for-3 with a double and scored three runs; Saldate was 3-for-4 with a double and scored twice; Gilgert was 2-for-2 with a double; and Nieman was 2-for-3 with a triple. Mackenzie Dillon added a double.
Tristan Greer was the winning pitcher, combining with Elexis Toro on a three-hitter while surrendering only one unearned run.
AJHS scored nine runs in the second inning and racked up 18 hits. Mikayla Gilgert started and struck out six in two innings. Tristan Greer worked the last three innings, getting five strikeouts.
Gilgert was 4-for-4, driving in four runs; and Cori Haro scored four runs, was 3-for-3 with three RBIs. Denae Preuhs, Tristen Greer and Zoe Siegel each drove in a pair of runs. Elexis Toro scored four runs while going 3-for-3.
Photo above: Mikayla Gilgert of Apache Junction successfully lays down a bunt in the Lady Prospectors’ win over Phoenix Cortez. (Photo by Daniel Dullum)