Marauders stand firm against the Mustangs

Tulare Western’s Emily Briseno pitches against Monache. With their loss to Monache, the Mustangs fell to 1-2 on the young season.(Kason Clark)

Monache softball earns a 4-2 victory on the road against Tulare Western; Aaliyah Mosqueda leads the way with three RBIs, two runs scored to help the Marauders improve to 2-2 on the young year

TULARE – In its home opener this past Thursday night, Tulare Western softball looked to get a win and build some early-season momentum. But the visiting Monache Marauders had other plans.

After falling behind early on, the Marauders took a 3-1 lead thanks to a bases-loaded triple from Aaliyah Mosqueda. After the Mustangs scored to cut into the deficit, the Marauders added another run and then held on for a 4-2 victory on Feb. 29. As her team picked up the road win, Monache head coach Briana Bamber was happy to see everyone from her team contribute.

“It was great. All of the players did their job today,” Bamber said. “Everybody participated and everybody did their job so it was a team win today.”

The Marauders improved their record to 2-2 this young season. They also continued their recent run of success against the Mustangs as they have now won three straight games in this series dating back to 2022. Whenever these two teams meet up, Bamber is always sure to have her team prepared.

“We respect them so much,” Bamber said. “We just come in thinking that we just have to play our best and put our best against them.”

The Marauders did make a costly mistake early on. In the bottom of the first inning, a Monache error allowed Abby Babb to score to give the Mustangs a 1-0 lead. But the Marauders quickly recovered in the top of the second. With the bases loaded, Mosqueda hit a triple to center field to clear the bases and give her team the 3-1 lead. As she went up to bat, Mosqueda was determined to get the big hit for her team.

“I just go up to bat with the mentality of doing it for my team and not for myself,” Mosqueda said. “We’ve been struggling a little bit lately with hitting, so I’m glad that I got that hit for my team and got them the opportunity to score those runs.”

The Mustangs eventually responded in the bottom of the fourth when Isabella Zavaleta scored on a groundout to cut the deficit to 3-1. But the Marauders played solid defense throughout the contest to hold the Mustangs at bay. After allowing an early error, Mosqueda and her teammates just got on the same page.

“I just like to make sure that whenever we call a pitch, I go to my shift and know where I’m at so I’m expecting the ball,” Mosqueda said. “I think my team does a good job of communicating, so that’s how we got it done.”

In the top of the seventh, the Marauders got an insurance run when Mosqueda scored on a sacrifice fly from Shy-Lee Teran to make it a 4-2 game. Monache then got the final three outs in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win to drop the Mustangs to 1-2 on the young year. As her team moves forward, Tulare Western head coach Mica Sanchez expects the Mustangs to learn from this loss and improve.

“I think my girls are really great at self reflection,” Sanchez said. “We didn’t come out with the best energy or the best attitude, so moving forward, I think once they agree that this is the road we’re on and this is the championship that we’re going to chase, we’re going to come together and have a better game.”

While the Marauders are happy with the win to get back to .500, there is still room for improvement. At the plate, both players and coaches know that the Marauders will have to do better if they want to accomplish their goals this spring.

“I still think our offense could improve,” Bamber said. “Just being more patient at the plate and being a little bit more disciplined.”

“We can build off this win by looking at how we hit because we haven’t been hitting recently,” Mosqueda said. “I just think that it’s a good opportunity for us to start hitting more. Our defense is pretty good but we just have to work on seeing the ball, being patient, letting it come and doing it as a team.”

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