The Minarets Mustangs baseball team (14-8, 4-4 West Sequoia League) played three league games last week - a 6-2 win over Fresno Christian on May 1, a 5-1 loss to Parlier on May 3, and a 9-1 win over Parlier on May 5.
The Fresno Christian Eagles (8-13, 2-3 WSL) had beaten Minarets 10-9 in the first round of league play, and that game ended with two Minarets players being ejected from the game (one has since been removed from the squad for actions detrimental to the team).
The Mustangs outhit the Eagles 10-8, with Hunter Thompson and E.G. Walden collecting three hits each. Walden had three RBIs to lead the Mustangs with Connor Reardon and Aaron Hall recording one RBI each. Thompson started the game, pitching four innings, surrendering four hits and no runs. Matt Blumberg closed out the game after an injury forced Thompson from the game.
The Mustangs traveled to Parlier May 3. With temperatures reaching 100 degrees, Minarets struggled from the first inning.
Tyler Painter started the game for the Mustangs, throwing three innings while giving up three runs, two hits, and striking out two. Brother Matt Painter relieved and took the loss as the Panthers beat Minarets 5-0, a first for the Panthers since the two teams started playing each other seven years ago.
E.G.Walden, leading the team with a .475 batting average, recorded another three hits. He has 19 hits in 17 games including three doubles, while leading the team in RBIs with 11.
The Mustangs wouldn’t have to wait long to avenge the loss to Parlier as they hosted the Panthers on May 5, senior night. The evening started honoring the Mustangs seniors - Matt Blumberg, Nathan Pearce, Connor Reardon, Drew Robertson, Hunter Thompson, Josh Weir, and Wyatt Wristen. Roses were presented to mothers of players and as they were announced, Head Coach Jesse Darrah presented each player with a bat and gift bag as a sign of appreciation.
Darrah’s team responded with a sound 9-1 win, with the loss of the Mustangs starting shortstop Christian Conti the Mustangs have been playing people out of position in hopes of finding a replacement at shortstop. Blumberg started at short and played a solid game as the Mustangs played error free ball in the win.
Hall took the mound for the Mustangs and recorded his fifth win on the season, while lowering his team leading 1.6 ERA. Tyler Painter opened the third with a single up the middle, followed by a walk and a fielders choice, Josh Weir drove in the Mustangs first run of the game with a single, followed by a single by Chris Bowe to score Reardon and the Mustangs were up 2-0. Walden would come through with two more RBIs with a bases loaded hit to right - Mustangs led 4-0 after two.
Leading off with a triple in the third inning, the Panthers were doubled off as Reardon threw a dropped third strike to first, Thompson caught an aggressive runner leading off third and Hall would record his fourth K in the game to end the inning.
Blumberg opened the sixth with a walk, stole second, and scored on a single by Reardon to put the Mustangs up 5-1. Soon after Walden drove a ball down the left field line to score Reardon and Bowe and give the Mustangs a 7-1 lead. Thompson followed with a single to left and Walden scored on an error. Hall helped his own cause keeping the inning alive with another single, and then with runners at first and second Robertson delivered a run scoring double to score Thompson for the Mustangs ninth run of the game.
The Mustangs are hitting .259 as a team, scoring 99 runs in 22 games, averaging 4.4 runs a game.
Minarets will end league play this week with away games against Caruthers and Riverdale. The Mustangs will need to at least split the two games to keep their playoff hopes alive, as one of the prerequisite for playoff contention is a .500 or better record in league play. Minarets is capable as they beat the Blue Raiders and Riverdale in their first meetings.