Northland Prep softball’s sister duo Maggie and Casey Auza are two major pieces to the Spartans' strong success this season.
Casey, a senior, and Maggie, a freshman, only get this year to play varsity sports together and have made good on it as both have put in strong performances going back to the fall volleyball season.
On the diamond the two are tied for second in total hits for the Spartans with 27 apiece. Maggie has a slight edge on her older sister in batting average, hitting .551 to Casey’s .500 for the season, while the upperclassman Auza has stolen 13 bases to Maggie’s 12.
While the two share some similarities in their stats -- and even down to their swinging -- their skipper said they do have some differences on the field.
“Maggie and Casey, they are similar in a lot of ways but also different in a lot of ways, too,” Spartans head coach Betty Dean said. “Maggie has got a ton of potential; Casey has developed so much over the years and she’s kinda the person that has a really steady composure about her. There’s not a whole lot that bothers her. If she commits an error you wouldn’t know it. She just goes back the next time and performs. Maggie is very much like that as well, but I think Maggie is a little bit more animated about different things because of her youth.”
The sister duo has helped the Spartans be one of the top teams in the 2A Conference this year, sitting as No. 5 squad as of Monday. Northland Prep is 10-2 overall and 5-1 in the Central Region.
As a pitcher Maggie has been effective, even dominant at times, as the Spartans' second arm to starter Megan Swinney. Maggie has a 2.57 ERA and has thrown a perfect game in a five-inning run-rule victory against Parker this year in a preseason tournament.
In the same game against Parker, Casey had one hit and and was hit by a pitch to make it on base twice for the Spartans.
“It’s a great combo to have on the team; I love coaching them both,” Dean said. “They are both very coachable and that’s a lot to do with their parents, who have had them in volleyball and softball for years and years.”
The recent success on the softball field shares some parallels with how the two fared on the court during volleyball. Maggie led the Spartans with 72 kills, while Casey recorded a team-high 172 sets. Both earned Central Region Second Team All-Region honors at the end of the season.
Dean said she has noticed many times when Casey motivates her sister, on and off the field, and that leadership by Casey is helping Maggie further her game early on.
“They did the same thing for volleyball and had a complete blast just playing together,” Dean said. “Of course you know their parents enjoy that so they aren’t chasing kids in different directions. They are doing the same thing here and Casey has taken a big sister role. I can hear her getting on Maggie for certain things.”
Dean said both are easy-going on the field, adding more to their willingness to buy in.
The Spartans have won their past seven games, scoring nine runs in each, and are getting ready to face off with No. 3 Camp Verde. The Cowboys are undefeated in the 2A Central at 8-0, including a close 6-5 win over the Spartans in late March.
First pitch is set for 3:45 p.m. at Camp Verde High School today.