The Northland Prep Spartans made quick work of the Glendale Prep Griffins Monday afternoon, routing the struggling Griffins at Sinagua Middle School 21-4 to cap off a two-game afternoon in five innings.
The Spartans, ranked fourth in the 2A Conference heading into the day, stayed dominant in the 2A Central Region -- the Spartans are 7-2 in region play, losing to just No. 3 Camp Verde.
Northland Prep improved to 12-3 overall and stayed in the hunt for a top-five seed in the state playoffs as the season nears a close.
Monday's doubleheader was originally set for just one game, but the Griffins had to reschedule to avoid cancellation or forfeiting because the team didn't have enough players before Monday.
Northland Prep won the first game of the day 23-2 in five innings behind a massive 25-hit outburst. Maggie Auza started the first game in the circle pitching a complete game, allowing five hits and three runs. Auza registered six strikeouts in the first win.
Megan Swinney pitched the second game, going the distance and allowing three hits and striking out three batters while the Griffins struggled to get any momentum going against her.
On the offensive side of things, the Spartans had 18 hits on the Griffins in the second rout.
Northland Prep scored 12 runs in the bottom of the first to start the second game, igniting the massive offensive output.
The day served as a chance for the Spartans to get some players opportunities in different spots ahead of the playoffs, and for head coach Betty Dean to have her squad work on fundamentals to cut down on errors with tougher games likely ahead.
"We were working on some fundamentals, you noticed we had some players there in the second game playing in different positions 'cause we wanted them to work where they wouldn't typically work," Dean said. "We were really just working on fundamentals at the plate, hitting strikes, hitting through the ball, good base running, smart base running and then just trying to not make any errors."
The Spartans made one error apiece in each game, but Dean wants her team to cut it down further -- knowing that small mistakes can make a difference in close games.
Dean said she wants her team to know when they need to focus in games. For her and the Spartans, that's the biggest piece heading down the stretch.
"There's a lot of mental, obviously, especially in games like this we tend to lose our focus," Dean said. "What we want to have is clean games. Defensively, we need to have clean games and minimize our errors -- not make any errors if we can. And then we just need to stay on top of the ball in the batter's box. If we do those things we will be successful in the playoffs."
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Northland Prep will conclude its season Tuesday at home against struggling Valley Lutheran. First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m. at Sinagua Middle School.
PANTHERS 7, SCORPIONS 0
The Coconino Panthers capped off the regular season with a 7-0 shutout over Desert Edge at Coconino High School on Monday.
Ranked No. 7 in the 4A Conference heading into the day, the Panthers ended the regular season at 14-4 and 9-3 in the Grand Canyon Region. Desert Edge, ranked No. 10 entering the day, fell to 12-5 overall.
Desert Edge only had one hit against Panthers starting pitcher Kaitlyn Snopek, who struck out nine batters in a complete-game win.
Lexi Bartell went 3 for 3 at the plate while Kylee Vickers went 1 for 3 with three RBIs.
Coconino awaits to see where it will land in the 4A Conference playoffs. The AIA expects the brackets to be released Tuesday.
EAGLES 15, BUFFALOES 0
The Eagles ended the regular season with a massive win over the Tempe Buffaloes, Monday at Flagstaff High School.
Flagstaff finished the season with two straight wins after it had lost the six previous outings. The Eagles end the regular season 10-8 overall and 6-6 in the Grand Canyon Region.
Like Coconino, Flagstaff awaits to see if its continue will continue when the AIA releases the 4A Conference brackets. Flagstaff is projected to make the play-in tournament, likely on the road.