The road to another section title will go through Hanford this year for the Minarets Mustangs (13-11, 6-4 West Sequoia League). After last years D-IV title, the Mustangs were moved up to D-V, finishing this season in third place, with Caruthers and Fowler sharing the league title with 8-2 league records.
The Mustangs have received the No. 14 seed in the playoffs, and ended the season last week with a 10-3 loss to Caruthers, and a 2-1 win against the Panthers of Parlier.
Against Parlier, Drew Robertson opened the top of the fifth drawing a walk and was sacrificed by Jacob Cullen. Hayden Alford delivered a line drive double to score Robertson and the game was tied 1-1. Andrew Carrick then singled to score Alford, giving the Mustangs all the run support Riley Hillerman would need as the Mustangs’ ace picked up his fifth win on the season to go with his team-leading 2.33 ERA.
If the Mustangs win their first round in the play-offs, they will play the winner of the Caruthers (No. 6 seed) - Mendota (No 11 seed) game. The game would possibly be played this Friday with the Mustangs traveling. The team split the season series against Caruthers and measures up well against Mendota, but first they must defeat Sierra Pacific Golden Bears (15-7, 12-3 league).
On paper the teams stats are similar - the Mustangs average 5.8 runs per game compared to the Bears 5.7. On the season, Sierra Pacific has given up 92 runs - the Mustangs have allowed 139. The Mustangs are batting .292 on the year, the Bears come in hitting .270.
If Hillerman is commanding the strike zone as he has been all season, the Mustangs have a chance to pull off the upset.
Softball team gets dramatic win
The Minarets Mustangs softball team (11-16, 3-7), is heading to the West Sequoia playoffs as the No. 5 seed in a field of seven teams.
The Mustangs entered last week’s game against the Parlier Panthers trailing the Panthers by one win in the league standings, and pulled off a dramatic come from behind, winning 7-6 win.
The Panthers were first on the board in the top of the third, but the Mustangs answered back with two runs in the bottom of the frame to take a 2-1 lead going into the fourth.
Mustang catcher Miranda Gonzales led off the inning taking first after being hit by a pitch. She stole second, and scored on Kalea Kamalani’s triple to the fence. She would then score on an infield hit from Patricia Thomsian. Parlier scored another run in the inning to tie the game at 2-2.
The Panthers added a little breathing room as Hauna Guitierrez took Kamalani deep with two runners on for a three-run homer to put the Panthers up 5-2. The Mustangs added a run in the bottom of the sixth to make it 5-3, Parlier.
The Panthers were up 6-3 as the Mustangs prepared for their final at bats. Faith Nolan singled to right, and Kamalani singled. Thomasian then hit a ground ball up the middle for an RBI, then Avina drove a line drive to the fence in right center for two more Mustangs runs and the game was now tied 6-6.
Paolinelli sacrificed Avina to third, with the winning run 60 feet away as Jimenez stepped to the plate. After fouling off several pitches, Jimenez hit a dribbler to third which was momentarily bobbled, allowing Jimenez to beat the throw at home to give the Mustangs the 7-6 win.
CIF officials apparently overlooked the big win and the better overall record of Minarets, as well as the head to head 2-1 advantage the Mustangs have over Parlier, as the Panthers received the No. 4 seed and the Mustangs were given the No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Each team has a bye in the first round and will meet today (Thursday) in Parlier.
The winner will face the No. 1 seed Orange Cove (17-8, 11-1). Playing a lighter schedule than the Mustangs, a show down would be much anticipated by Minarets, as it was the Titans that bounced them from the playoffs last season. Orange Cove went on to win the sectional title.