East County Sports

Mighty Tavizon blasts grand slam to give Cougars playoff win

Steele Canyon following its playoff win on Thursday.



By Adam Paul
© East County Sports.com


SANTEE (5-20-16) – Typically in sports and movies, teams and sagas are usually only in threes, but the visiting No. 6 seeded Steele Canyon Cougars and home team No. 3 seeded Santana Sultans don’t follow the normal rules and in the fourth meeting of the year added another incredible chapter to their saga as the Cougars whipped up some late heroics to claim the 4-2 victory in the CIF Division II playoff contest on Thursday (May 19).

Having already faced each other three previous times this season – with the Cougars winning two of the matchups including one in an extra inning affair – one would expect a slugfest, but for the most part each team held run wise.

Steele Canyon actually threatened in the top of the first inning with two outs as MAKAYLA MCCARTHY (1-3, 2B) doubled, but she would be stranded as MADISON MENDEZ (RBI) retired KYLIE MINSHEW (1-3) by striking her out to end the inning.

Both teams would hold each other until the bottom of the third when the Sultans threatened to score the game’s first run.

The Sultans led off with NICOLE PENTON MARCH lacing a triple. ASHLEY MADRIGAL would try to bunt and did, as she bunted at third baseman AUDREY BAGGE, who fielded the ball and threw home as Penton-March tried to score, but was called out at the plate. That would be the only threat of the inning for the Sultans as McCarthy got out of the inning by retiring the next couple batters.

Steele Canyon would get a two-out double in the top of the fourth from Minshew, but she would be stranded to end the inning.

Both teams would obtain hits in the next couple of innings as MACKENZIE BENNETT (2-4, RBI, R, HR), who thought she had smashed a homer, would be held to a single as the ball had hit the fence in the bottom of the fourth. However that would be all for the Sultans as nothing else would occur for them.

EMMA DODSON doubled for the Cougars in the top of the fifth inning but she would also be stranded.

Just like the previous innings the Sultans got a runner on when JORDAN TEEGARDIN (2-3, R, 2 2B) led off the bottom of the fifth with a booming double to left but nothing else.

The Cougars went down in order quietly in the top of the sixth inning. So with the score still 0-0 and both teams pitchers pitching like crazy, something was bound to occur as all the fans were wondering when the first run would happen.

You ask and you shall receive because in the bottom of the sixth, Bennett this time made sure that the ball didn’t hit the fence as she took the McCarthy offering and crushed a line drive jack over the center field fence to give the Sultans a 1-0 lead.

Now trailing by a run in the last inning and the game on the line, the Cougars didn’t fret as they had played this game before.

The leadoff hitter Minshew was retired by Mendez on a ground out. With one down up stepped MAKAYLA STROMENGER and was promptly hit by a pitch. JJ VENZOR grounded to short where SYDNEY VATES fielded the ball and got the out at second for the second out of the inning.

Facing two outs and a runner on first, up stepped Dodson, who hit a ground ball down the third base line and not sure if the ball was going to go foul RACHEL WILSON fielded it and threw it to first but Dodson slid into first safe. Next batter HANNAH DUDLEY was hit by a pitch to load the bases with 2 outs.

So with two down, up stepped ASHLEY TAVIZON (1-3, 4 RBI, R, HR) the number nine hitter. Timeout was called to regroup and talk.

“I was really nervous but coach just told me to go up and create a senior moment,” said Tavizon.

She did exactly that as she took the first offering from Mendez and just absolutely crushed it over the right field fence for the grand slam, which was the first of her high school career to give the Cougars the 4-1 lead and send their fans into a frenzy and the Sultan fans into a quietness.  That would be all the Cougars would end up with as Mendez retired Bagge on a fly ball to end the inning.

The Sultans had one more shot to do something and did so as Teegardin led off with a double. Penton-March would hit what looked like a routine ball to short, but the ball was bobbled and both runners were safe. Madrigal singled to center to load the bases.

The Sultans fans cheered loudly as it was only a matter of moments earlier that all looked bad. However, with the bases loaded and no outs, up stepped CELINE MENARD to pinch hit for SHELBY HOLMQUIST. McCarthy would end up striking her out looking for the first out.

Now it was back to the top of the lineup for the Sultans and Mendez looked to get something going but she grounded to short, which scored Teegardin to make the score 4-2. That would be all the runs the Cougars would give up as Bennett hit a hard comebacker to McCarthy who promptly threw her out at first to end the game.

In the victory, McCarthy tossed 7 innings, giving up 2 runs, of which 1 was earned, on 6 hits while walking 1 and fanning 5. Taking the loss for the Sultans, Mendez also tossed 7 innings, giving up 4 runs which all were earned on 5 hits, walked none and fanned 3 on the day.

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