The Minarets Mustang baseball team (10-8, 3-1 West Sequoia League), has a share of first place in the league standings after two weeks of play. A surprise by many considering the Mustangs graduated all nine starters from last years Central Section D-VI Championship team. Only senior Justin McLeod and junior Riley Hillerman remain from the Mustangs powerhouse team of last season which finished the season ranked No. 1 in D-V play.
Following a tough loss to the Fowler Redcats, the Mustangs rolled off back to back wins, the first against the Fresno Christian Eagles. What was expected to be a blow out, looked that way early as the Mustangs surrendered five runs in the first inning off Hillerman - But the Mustangs would go on to explode for 20 runs to win 20-7. The Mustangs collected 16 hits, and what Hillerman couldn’t do with his fast ball he made up for with his bat, with two hits.
Justin McLeod led the Mustangs with five 5 RBIs, going 3 for 6. Freshman Jacob Cullen was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.
Minarets then beat rival Caruthers 5-3 on April 17.
Hayden Alford took the mound for Minarets and pitched a complete game, surrendering 7 hits over 7 innings, and holding Caruthers to three. The win gave the Mustangs a share of the first place standings with Fowler and the Blue Raiders.
Alford opened the game with a triple. Andrew Carrick walked and stole second, allowing Alford to steal home on the throw. Two batters later Carrick scored off a sacrifice from Hillerman to put the Mustangs up 2-0.
Caruthers scored an unearned run in the second to keep it close till the Mustangs McLeod, who is leading the team in nearly every hitting category, singled and later scored off a single by center fielder Christian Low. Low gave the Mustangs a bit of breathing room when he was driven in by Brendan Bourdet’s single to right.
The Blue Raiders managed to score again in the fourth but again Hillerman came through with his bat doubling to right field. The Mustangs No. 1 pitcher in the rotation was lifted for pinch runner Wayne Hatfield, who following another single by Low, put the Mustangs up 5-2.
The Mustangs will travel to Parlier (11-5) this week. Parlier’s winning record is a bit misleading as they have peppered their early season with some soft teams. None the less, the Panthers have scored 151 runs in 15 games, averaging 10 runs per contest.
Friday will be a duel for first place as the Fowler Redcats visit Minarets for a rematch, after the two teams played very tight until the closing innings in their first game, won by Flower 6-4.