Apache Junction Knocks Off Casa Grande Union, Sweeps Region Games with Dysart
By Daniel Dullum
Stepping into the batter’s box with Apache Junction enjoying a 15-0 lead in the fourth inning of a region game against El Mirage Dysart on April 12, Mikayla Gilgert confessed that she knew what sign third base coach Bill Wilson was going to give.
In lopsided situations, Wilson likes the players to work on different areas of their game. He gave Gilgert the bunt sign, but the senior pitcher-outfielder had other plans. Her three-run home run to left put the exclamation point on the Lady Prospectors’ 18-0 victory.
“I knew he was going to want to practice the bunting, and I’m like, ‘I want to hit!’ Gilgert said. “Sometimes, I confess, I get a little too aggressive and it shows in my baserunning too. I have to remember to slow it down.
“That happens with my hitting as well. In my first three at-bats, I swung at the first pitch because if it’s a pitch I like, I’m going to go for it. But when you face real good pitching, you have to have more discipline up there.”
It was AJHS’s third win of the week, which started with a key, non-region power point battle at Casa Grande Union on April 9, won 4-1 by the Lady Prospectors.
“You get kind of excited after that kind of game,” Gilgert said of the win over CGU. “It’s harder not to play with that level of competitiveness Casa Grande had. But you have to continue with it regardless of who you play.”
As of April 13, Apache Junction (19-6 overall, 7-0 region) is No. 2 in the AIA 4A power poll, trailing only Glendale Cactus.
“We’ve got two huge games coming up for the regional title against Combs,” AJHS Coach Ed Matlosz said. “We understand we have to take care of (Scottsdale) Coronado, but (No. 13) Combs is legit, and we have got to be ready for some intense softball.”
Besides going 3-for-4 with four runs batted in, Gilgert pitched the first two innings, getting four strikeouts without allowing a run or hit. Tristen Green threw three scoreless innings.
Denae Preuhs was 3-for-4 with two runs, five RBIs, and two doubles. Cori Haro was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, two stolen bases and three runs batted in; Sarah Nieman and Mackenzie Dillon each drove in two runs; and Elexis Toro stole three bases and scored four runs.
At El Mirage on April 10, the Lady Prospectors scored six runs in the third inning and eight in the fourth, eventually winning 16-2.
Elexis Toro started and pitched four innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, striking out three with one walk. Tristen Greer struck out one while throwing a scoreless fifth.
Toro also homered while going 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Daisy Ruelas-Estrada went 2-for-4, drove in three runs and scored twice. Denae Preuhs, Megan Clark, Mikayla Gilgert, Julia Gonwa, Cori Haro and Mackenzie Dillon also drove in single runs for AJ.
“After that big game against Casa Grande, the night before. We got back around 10 at night, had to turn around during testing, and come all the way back to Dysart, which is another hour,” Matlosz said. “No excuses, but the girls came out a little flat and did well after a while.”
In a battle of top ten teams, the visiting Lady Prospectors prevailed with a nine-hit attack to go with Mikayla Gilgert’s complete game in AJ’s 4-1 win over Casa Grande Union.
Gilgert struck out 12, walked three while giving up one earned run on six hits. She was also 2-for-4 at the plate and drove in one run. Daisy Ruelas-Estrada, Priscilla Saldate and Mackenzie Dillon had the other AJ runs batted in.
Photo above: Apache Junction’s Mikayla Gilgert unloads for a three-run homer in the Lady Prospectors’ victory over Dysart on April 12. (Photo by Bill Wooster)