AJHS softball sneaks by Tempe to win senior day

It looked like Apache Junction was going to lose its senior night game against Tempe until senior Kayla Pettis-Miller went up to bat.

“The whole game I had a rough game, and I decided to leave it on the mound after I left that position,” Kayla said. “And I went up to the box and told myself to be the change. And I hit a line drive and brought two girls in and got that winning run in.”
The final score was Apache Junction 7, Tempe 6.

“I told the girls all week long, when you watch a Tempe team winning all those games, there’s got to be a reason,” Coach Ed Matlosz said. “I knew it was going to be a battle, a knock-down drag-out. I knew they had the potential to hit like that and they did. We had to come back and take care of business and that is what we did.”

The April 27 match-up was senior day. Kayla is one of three seniors on the team. Her twin, Kendra, and Ashlee McDaniel make up the rest of the graduating class of 2016.

“It was important, I didn’t want to end the season with a loss and we all came together in the end,” Kendra said. “It was nice to go away with a win.

Ashlee said the team came together and played for the seniors.

“I am proud of my girls for not quitting and getting the clutch hits when needed,” Matlosz said.

With the win, the team assured themselves home stadium advantage in the first game of the playoffs.

“It’s not over yet, we’re going to be hosting a first-round playoff game, for the first time I believe, at least in the history I’ve been here,” Coach Matlosz said.  “To host a play-off game has always been a dream.”

Coach Matlotz has been coaching softball at Apache Junction for 10 years.

The team will be playing Veritas Prep . If the team wins on Saturday, their next game will be against the winner of Sahuraita and Bougade Catholic on May 5 at Rose Mofford Sports Complex, 9833 N. 25th Ave. in Phoenix.

During the regular season AJ played at Veritas Prep and won the game with a score of 17-0.

“That’s the one that we have to win,” Kendra said. “If we come together, we are unstoppable.”

“I’m excited for Saturday, to take that win,” Kayla said. “We will come out even stronger, our heads are in the game way more than they were today.”

News Services Assistant Arianna Grainey can be reached at 623-445-2717, via e-mail at agrainey@newszap.com or on twitter at ariannagrainey

Arianna Grainey is a freelance photojournalist.

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