By Kevin Cloe
Win and wait.
That was/is the order of business for Wickenburg High School’s baseball team this week.
The Wranglers capped their regular season Monday of this week, hoping a victory might be good enough to send them into the 3A Conference state playoffs. However, the results of that game against visiting Chino Valley were not available at press time.
They started this week ranked No. 26 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power points standings — needing to climb at least two spots to qualify for the play-in portion of the state tournament, which begins next week.
An incredible 10-8 comeback victory against Kingman Academy early last week put the Wranglers in the No. 25 slot, but they slipped one notch a day later when they were idle. Tanque Verde of southern Arizona climbed over the Wranglers in the rankings with a victory.
Then … even though they lost an important 3-1 contest against 11th-ranked Kingman later last week, they were able to hold the No. 26 spot.
So … while the Wranglers hoped to score a repeat victory against 20th-ranked Chino Valley, they also need losses by three teams — No. 23 Pusch Ridge, No. 24 Salford and No. 25 Tanque Verde — this week to possibly open the door to a playoff spot. The season ends today (Wednesday, April 24), and the final rankings are expected to be announced by early Thursday morning.
A loss to Chino Valley, though, probably sinks the Wranglers’ desire to continue with playoff action.
Wranglers 10, Kingman Academy 8
In retrospect, a loss in this game in Kingman probably would have doomed the Wranglers’ playoff hopes. They were down 8-1 heading into the seventh and final inning, when they exploded for a nine-run rally — capped by senior Michael Mindnich’s two-out and game-winning three-run home run.
That potential season-saving rally included singles by freshman Ro DiCamillo (two), Drake Matney and Jeorge Hershkowitz (driving in two runs) as well as a bases-loaded walk by Tyler Ness and a run-scoring fielder’s choice by starting pitcher Kade Peterson.
After losing to the 3A West Region leader 7-1 earlier in the season, the Wranglers ran into another buzzsaw in Kingman last week — managing only three hits and striking out 12 times against the Bulldogs’ pitching.
Two of the Wranglers’ three hits were doubles by losing pitcher Michael Mindnich and freshman Drake Matney. The third hit was a single by senior Kade Peterson.
Mindnich suffered the loss on the mound, limiting Kingman to only four hits. Two of the three runs scored against him were unearned due to the Wranglers’ lone error in the game.
Hoping to avoid being shut out in region action, the Lady Wranglers wrapped up their season Monday with a road trip to Chino Valley.
They fell out of any remote chance of playoff contention last week with a 14-2 loss to Kingman Academy and a 14-2 setback to Kingman — dropping to No. 28 in the AIA rankings.
The results of the Chino Valley game this week were not available at press time.
After starting the season with a bang — winning 8 of their first 11 games and ranked as high as No. 16 in the 3A Conference, Wickenburg High’s girls lost 9 of their next 10 games through last week. They went to Chino Valley with an 0-9 region record and a 9-12 season mark.