Apache Junction softball wins over QCHS

Kendra Pettis-Miller pitches for Apache Junction High School (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

Kendra Pettis-Miller pitches for Apache Junction High School (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

The Apache Junction softball team set the tone for the game early in the first inning when Denae Preuhs walked, and Kendra Pettis-Miller brought her home with a single.  The Lady Prospectors beat Queen Creek 2-1 during the Dobson-Westwood softball tournament, at Dobson High School.

“This is the farthest we’ve ever gone in this tourney,” Apache Junction Coach Ed Matlosz said. “These girls played their hearts out and today they took ownership of the team.”

Then Kayla Pettis-Miller took the mound for AJ and the team got all three batters out. It was 5 innings later before anyone scored again.

“Kayla (Pettis-Miller) on the mound was phenomenal, hitting her spots, changing locations,” Maltosz said.

Alyx Ayers scored the second run for Apache Junction during the top of the sixth inning.

Queen Creek then answered back with their own run which was scored after Taryn Simmons hit a triple bring Alex Lawson back home.

“We just stopped hitting,” Queen Creek Coach Stephanie Mejia said. “The last two games we left too many girls on base and just stopped hitting.”

Queen Creek lost a game, 8-6 to Horizon just before playing Apache Junction.  The team was down 7-1 during the fifth or sixth inning, Mejia said.

“They are getting used to each other, we have a lot of young girls,” she said. “We are pretty young, and our pitching staff is Julia Heitz and Savannah Morales. Julia is a sophomore and Savannah is a freshman, we are pretty young in that department, it’s a growing pain.”

“Queen Creek is a legit team, they are a very good program,” Maltosz said. “Any time you can beat a Queen Creek team in any sport, you played a great game and I respect that team over there.”

Apache Junction is the No.2 seed on their side of the bracket, behind Yuma Cibola in the tournament. They will play either the loser from the Arcadia or Sierra Vista Buena match-up.

“We are actually playing for the bronze medal,” Maltosz said. “We are basically the smallest school here, they are mostly Division I schools. I am just so proud of these girls to be competing at this level.”

“It’s pretty exciting, because we played Queen Creek last year, it was our first game and I had just gotten off a three week injury,” Kayla Pettis-Miller said. “Coming back and winning this year was pretty great.”
Last year, Pettis-Miller said Queen Creek beat the team 12-0, so this game was a sort of redemption.

Maltosz said his team would be ready for the third place game.

“Anytime there is a trophy on the line you’re going to be ready to go if you’re a player.”

Arianna Grainey is a freelance photojournalist.

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