Southwestern Heights thirdbaseman Celia Sanchez applies the tag to a Spearville baserunner. It was the third out of the sixth inning that ended a scoring threat by Spearville. Heights catcher Danielle Sanchez faked the throw to second on a double steal attempt, pulling the baserunner on third off. Danielle Sanchez then made the throw to third for the out. The Lady Mustangs went on to win Game 2, 5-3. L&T photo/Chris Linenbroker
By JASON EPP
Leader & Times
PLAINS — A pair of double-steal plays went the Lady Mustangs way to help Southwestern Heights win Game 2, 5-3, to earn a split after dropping Game 1, 4-2.
Trailing 3-1 early in Game 2 Heights' Rachel Amerin doubled to lead off the bottom of the second inning, and reached third on Maria Gutierrez' bloop single to center field. The Lady Mustangs then pulled off the double-steal to score Amerin and ignite a rally that put Heights up 5-3.
In the top of the six inning Spearville was threatening with two outs and runners on first and third. Spearville called for the double-steal; Heights catcher Danielle Sanchez faked hard the throw to second pulling the Spearville runner off third base just enough. Sanchez made a perfect throw to Celia Sanchez for the tag-out, ending the scoring threat.
“That was huge,” Lady Mustangs coach J. R. Mendoza said. “We've tried to get her to make that play for four years. We called it earlier in the game and she didn't do it, then she fakes that one like she's been doing it for forever and got her out.”
Danielle Sanchez also got the offense going when she hit an RBI triple that bounced off the yellow at the top of the fence in right field that scored Viancy Jiminez to give the Lady Mustangs a 1-0 lead after one inning of play.
Lexi Stark was solid on the mound in Game 2, allowing eight hits, but none for extra bases. Stark limited her walks to three, and struck out four.
“Lexi threw excellent, threw strikes,” Mendoza said.
Viancy Jimenez was 2-3 with two RBI, two runs scored, and a stolen base. Danielle Sanchez was 2-3 with a triple and an RBI. Sara Eakes was 1-3 with an RBI. Dakoda Cox was 1-2 with a run scored and a stolen base. Diana Carillo was 1-1.
In Game 1, it was the Spearville pitcher who controlled the game, holding Heights to just six hits and gave up no walks.
Danielle Sanchez got the first hit for the Lady Mustangs when she doubled to center to lead off the bottom of the second. Lexi Stark singled to center to score courtesy runner, Maria Gutierrez and put Heights up, 1-0.
Spearville scored two runs in the top of the fourth to take the lead, and Spearville's pitcher retired seven-straight Lady Mustangs.
Again it was Danielle Sanchez ending the drought with a triple to deep right. Stark again hit to deep center, this time for a sacrifice fly that scored Danielle Sanchez to tie the game 2-2.
Spearville retook the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the six, but the highlight of the inning was Lady Mustangs' shortstop Sara Eakes leaping grab to rob Spearville of an extra-base hit.
Jiminez and Amerin both singled in the bottom of the sixth, but Heights could not get a run across, and failed to get the ball out of the infield in their last chance in the seventh.
Rachel Amerin gave up nine hits and six walks, while striking out three.
Danielle Sanchez was 3-3 with a double and a triple. Lexi Stark was 1-3 with two RBI.
“We scrapped together the first game, didn't quite have the performance we expected,” Mendoza said. “Spearville is a really good team. That was actually the first time we've beat them in four years. It was a good, solid team effort.”
Heights (13-7) will face Belle Plain, Monday at 3:30 in Cheney in their first game of the regional