Kyla Wilcher
ASU Student Journalist

Padres JV softball run-ruled at home

February 27, 2019 by Kyla Wilcher, Arizona State University

Sophomore pitcher Ariana Matus struck out three batters over two innings for Marcos de Niza. (Photo: Kyla Wilcher/AZPreps365)

Marcos de Niza JV softball couldn’t find its rhythm on Wednesday afternoon, falling to Apache Junction, 19-4, by mercy rule at home.

At the Padres’ second game in two days, the team struggled through four innings to reach its first loss of the season. Marcos de Niza coach Frank Calderon said his team needs to let errors roll off their backs in order to produce runs.

“They make one bad error, and it’s defining them,” he said. “They need to learn that errors happen, and softball is a game of failure.”

The Padres (1-1) faced setbacks from the start of the game. The Prospectors scored eight runs in the first inning, while the Padres only saw three batters step up to the plate. The second inning was more of the same for the struggling Padres, with a series of defensive errors allowing Apache Junction (1-1) to grow its lead to 12-0.

Tides began to turn in the third inning, where Marcos de Niza seized on an early error by Apache Junction. With some aggressive base stealing, the Padres were able to score a few runs, leaving them at 14-4.

“Our bats started getting hot there towards the end,” Calderon said. “But a day late, a dollar short.”

Even with the change in tone for the Padres offense, the team couldn’t keep up with the consistent runs by the Prospectors, which stretched the lead to 19-4. After the Padres failed to score in the fourth, the game was called.

Kim Greer, coach of Apache Junction, said she told her team to play hard through mistakes, which allowed the Prospectors to capitalize on a number of the Padres’ errors.

“One of my girls hit a little dribbler, and everyone on MDN was just waiting on it,” Greer said. “You just have to run hard through it, and that’s what was happening.”

The Padres defense had difficulty making plays, but center fielder Dalila Mendoza made a picture-perfect catch at the top of the fourth, handing the Prospectors their first out of the inning. At a point where Marcos de Niza appeared discouraged, an easy catch like Mendoza’s served to reinvigorate the fans and the players.

Apache Junction came to Marcos de Niza feeling the effects of a 14-12 loss to Cactus High School on Tuesday night. Calderon said he thinks the Prospectors came ready to fight, while the Padres were coasting after the previous day’s win over McClintock.

“Our girls came in with a lot of confidence – or maybe even arrogance,” he said. “They’re young, they’ve got a lot of work to do, and they’re going to be humbled.”

Similarly, Greer said her team faced difficulties because of a lack of experience. She said this game marks only the third time the girls have played as a team.

“We’ve had one practice, our first game, and then today,” she said. “We have three girls who have never even played this sport before, so we’re really trying to grow their confidence in the game.”

Ariana Matus, a sophomore pitcher for Marcos de Niza, said that while the team meshes well, it’s lacking in communication.

“The energy’s in [the dugout], but it’s not on the field,” she said.

Matus said she hopes this game has taught the team to talk more on the field than off.

Next, the Padres are heading across town to face the Tempe Buffaloes on Thursday afternoon for a rivalry game.