East County Sports

Cougars ride comeback over Hillers, alone in first



By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com


EL CAJON (4-27-16) — If a ride was an actual theme it would be a roller coaster as again it was a roller coaster ride in the Grossmont Hills League contest between the visiting Steele Canyon Cougars and the Grossmont Foothillers. The Cougars rode a low peak on the ride all the way to the seventh when they reached the summit with their 8-4 comeback victory, Wednesday (Apr. 27).

The Cougars in the top of the first inning looked like they were going go without anything, but up stepped MAKAYLA STROMENGER (2-4, 2 RBI, 2 R, HR) with 2 outs. She got hold of one and cranked it over the left field fence for the solo shot to give them an early 1-0 lead.

However the lead didn’t last as in the bottom of the first inning the Foothillers would answer. Leadoff hitter CHLOE CAMARERO (1-4) would strike out, CARLY PEARSON (1-4, R) laced a single to left, DESTINY BACON (1-2, R) reached on an error, Pearson to second, and TAYLOR BAEZ (2-4, 3 RBI, R, HR) would take the MAKAYLA McCARTHY offering and slam it over the left field fence to give the Foothillers a 3-1 lead.

In the circle for the Foothillers, SAMARIA ROOPE shook off the first inning and was able to retire the Cougars in order in the top of the second inning. Grossmont in the bottom of the second inning got runners on as leadoff batter KATIE APPENZELLER (run) walked, Camarero hit a fly ball to center that was misplayed which allowed both Appenzeller and Camarero to advance, a couple of batters later Appenzeller scored via a passed ball that gave Grossmont a 4-1 lead.

Steele Canyon despite getting singles by both AUDREY BAGGE (2-4, 2 RBI, R) and GENTRY HOFFMAN (2-3, RBI, R) couldn’t push anything across as Roope struck out Stromenger to end the inning.  Grossmont in the bottom of the third couldn’t do anything despite a single by Roope.

Both teams would hold each other in check in the fourth inning. However things changed in the top of the fifth when the Cougars got to the first stretch in the roller coaster ride.  It started with a single by leadoff hitter SAMANTHA MILLER (2-4, RBI, R, 2B), HANNAH DUDLEY (1-3, R) took a 1-2 offering and hit a fly ball single to left field to put runners at first and second, EMMA DODSON (2-4, R) roped a line drive single to right field to load the bases. Now the Cougars were in business with none out.

The next batter Bagge hit a ground ball that went off the pitcher to shortstop who threw her out but not before Miller scored and both Dudley and Dodson advanced.  Hoffman hit a long fly ball to center that allowed Dudley to score to make it 4-3. Grossmont got out of the inning as Roope retired Stromenger via a groundball to end the inning.

Grossmont threatened in the bottom of the fifth as Bacon led off with a single, a couple of batters advanced on the Roope sacrifice, ALEXIS COLLINS walked, LILI FLORES came into run and both runners would advance to second and third via a passed ball. However McCarthy was able to strike out MEGAN MALWITZ to get out of the jam and end the inning. Both teams would go scoreless in their respective halves of the sixth inning.

Looking to put things away and clinging to a 4-3 lead, the Foothillers were within three outs. However the Cougars had other ideas as their roller coaster ride was about to reach its peak. The Hillers got a quick out as Dudley popped out to second base. So with one down, up stepped Dodson who took the 1-2 offering and roped it for a double. Bagge then hit a line drive to center for a single advancing Dodson to third who actually came into score and tie the game 4-4. The Cougar dugout was going bonkers as were their faithful fans. It wasn’t over as the ride was just beginning to reach the peak.

So now a new ball game presented itself for Steele Canyon as the score was knotted and a runner on first with only one out.

Hoffman singled advancing Bagge to second. Next up was Stromenger who looked to cause some more damage and that she did as she ripped a line drive single to right field that scored Bagge to make it 5-4 and advanced Hoffman to second. McCarthy drew a walk to load the bases, ELIZABETH BOTT (run) came in to run, so with one out and the bases full, up came JJ VENZOR who was retired by Roope on a popup for the second out.

The next batter KYLIE MINSHEW (1-4, RBI) added to the damage as she singled to center on a line drive that advanced everyone and allowed Stromenger to score and Miller would double in Bott with a hit to center to round out the damage and make it 8-4. Grossmont was finally able to get out of the inning a couple of batters later when Roope was able to get Dodson to fly out for the third out.

Steele Canyon was on the verge of completing a second crazy comeback as they had previously come back to beat Santana in extra innings in their previous league contest. All they needed to do was hold Grossmont who had the ability to put up runs as well. So it was up to McCarthy and the defense.

The first batter for the Hillers, Bacon was retired via a lineout to left field. Next up was Baez who had already hit a homer, this time she singled to left, Roope was hit by a pitch which advanced Baez to second, ALICIA KOTCHER came into run.

However that would be all they would get as McCarthy was able to get Collins to ground out back to her which did advance the runners. So with two outs and runners on second and third it was up to MADDIE LINDSAY to extend the inning. McCarthy had other ideas as she was able to get the first two strikes, the next pitch was a ball so with the count 1-2 the offering by McCarthy was delivered and Lindsay swung and missed to end the game.

It was now complete, the roller coaster of a ride had reached its peak as the Cougars had come back to win.

“The pitch was a middle-in pitch and I was just wanting to hit it to right center as I knew if I hit to the left the ball would be caught,” said Stromenger. “It’s the best feeling when you come back to win the way we did as it’s exciting. As a team we are confident that we can come back from any deficit, trailing late in the game to win,” Stromenger added when asked about what ended up being the go ahead hit and also the comeback victory for the second game in a row.

Taking the loss for the Foothillers was Roope who tossed all 7 innings, giving up 8 runs on 12 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3. Garnering the victory for the Cougars was McCarthy who also tossed 7 innings for the complete game victory in which she gave up 4 runs on 6 hits while walking 5 and fanning 5 as well.

So with the day’s results of the other games the Cougars sit in first place all by themselves as they improved their league record to 4-1.

By Adam Paul, © EastCountySports.com

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