East County Sports

Patriots tame Storm with late offense

2017 EAST COUNTY PREP SOFTBALL

By Adam Paul

Division III Championship

UCSD

#3 Christian 6, #1 High Tech High SD 4: A late rally and timely hitting provide the dramatic punch out needed by the Patriots to tame the Storm.

The No. 3 seeded Patriots knew they would have to set the tone early and that they did in the top of the first inning. With one out, ASHLEY CARTER (1-2, 3R, SB) drew a walk, stole second and came into score when SHANNON MCMAHON (2-4, 3 RBI, 2 2B) ripped a double to make it 1-0.

However the Storm threatened in the bottom of the inning when they were able to get a couple of hits and also taking advantage of a miscue but Carter who was also in the circle was able to get out of the jam by inducing an inning ending double play ball.

Christian again looked to put some runs on the board in the top of the second as ALEXA HENDERSON (1-2) singled and TENAY BENEGAS (1-3, RBI) singled but unfortunately both would be stranded as the next couple batters would be retired to end the threat.

Back-to-back walks and a couple of base hits allowed the Storm to tie and put a couple more runs on the board and give them a 3-1 lead after two innings of play. They would add another run in the bottom of the third to extend the lead 4-1.

This didn’t deter Carter and the Patriots as they knew they could come back. She took a breath and went back to work in the fourth and was able to get through the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Patriots knew they had to do something to get back into the contest as they had some this far. In the top of the fifth it looked like they would come up empty handed as the first two batters would be retired, but leadoff hitter SILENT RAIN ESPINOZA (2-4, R, 2B) sparked things when she roped a ball that went for a double, Carter followed that with a walk and McMahon came up and smoked another double which brought Espinoza into score and Carter followed her by crossing the plate to tie the game 3-3 which brought the Patriots fans to a loud roar and also give a brand new ballgame.

High tech in the bottom of the fifth would put runners on first and second and again Carter would get out of the inning as she induced a lined out to end the inning.

Now with the score tied, AUDREY SHEBLOSKI (2-4, R, 2 RBI) led off the top of the sixth with a single, ELLE LINBLAD (1-4) followed with another single, Henderson sacrificed the runners up and Benegas drove in Shebloski on a groundout to give the Patriots the lead 4-3.

Carter again shut down the Storm in the bottom of the sixth with help from the defense to preserve the one run lead.

Leading things off in the top of the seventh for Christian, Espinoza laced a single, Carter followed with another single, McMahon grounded out to third where Espinoza was forced out and the third baseman threw to first for the double play, MALLORY STEELE (1-3, R) came up with two outs and laced another single to put runners on first and second, which set the stage and up stepped Shebloski who had singled in her previous at-bat, the count would go to 1-2 when she would take the offering and rope a single that would bring in both Carter and Steele to push the slim lead to 6-4.

The Patriots were now three outs away from winning and bringing home another championship.

Carter went back out to the circle in the bottom of the seventh looking to shut down the Storm. Things didn’t start off well as the lead hitter smashed a double. However she would get the next batter to fly out to short for the first out, the following batter flied out to center and the next batter on a 2-2 count would hit a fly ball to left where it was caught for the final out.

With that out the Patriots were the Champions of Division III and also back-to-back champions as they had won Division IV last year.

Carter on the day went the full 7 innings, giving up 4 runs on 9 hits, walking 5 and striking out 1 to improve her record to 20-8.

“This win feels excellent because this year was harder as we moved up a Division but it wasn’t going to happen without senior leadership.” Said Patriots Coach GEORGE GENTRY when asked about the difference between this years title win compared to the previous years.

“It feels amazing to win and the team had my back and I knew they would as they kept telling me that I could do this.” Said Carter when asked about the win and also on shutting the Storm out for the final four innings of play.

With the win the Patriots finish 26-9-1 and also claim their eighth CIF Softball title overall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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