Monday evening Sterling College Lady Warriors varsity softball faced off at home against the Hasting College Broncos.
Sterling started things off in the bottom of the first inning by putting up a run. Hastings got ahead the following inning 2-1 but the Warriors were able to tie it at 2-2 after the second.
The third inning came with an explosion of power from the Broncos as they added another seven runs to their total making the score 9-2 after three.
Both teams turned up the defense in the fourth and fifth innings, preventing any runs from crossing the plate.
The Warriors were able to push two additional runs across the plate to make it 9-4 after the sixth but Hastings would score another two of their own in the top of the seventh.
As the bottom of the seventh began the Warriors were down 11-4. But they still had some fight left. Sterling battled back and scored five huge runs in the seventh inning rally but it wouldn’t be enough to take the win.
The Warriors lost game one 11-9.
“The first game we fought too late I think,” said Teanne Edens. “It felt like a completely different game when we started the second game. It was like we came to life
and found the fight we have been needing.”
“The first game was a little bit of a struggle for us,” said Tiah Grass, “because we couldn’t get our timing down early enough in game to be able to score more runs, rather than getting the timing down late in the game.”
After a brief intermission both teams returned to the field to duel it out all over again.
Again the Warriors started off the game by scoring first and taking the 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Both teams knew what to expect from each other as the next two innings went scoreless.
“In the second game, we knew what we were going to face because the girl that threw to us in the last two innings of the first game was the pitcher that pitched to us the second game,” said Grass, “so we were more prepared to what was being pitched to us at the plate. We were able to sit back and wait for the ball to come to us.”
In the top of the fourth the Broncos came alive and scored four runs against the Warrior defense making it 4-1.
“Some struggles I saw from the outfield,” said Grass, “was that Hastings was hitting short balls to the right side of the field and shots to the left side of the field so it was kind of difficult to judge the hitters on their power.”
Edens came in to pitch after the four runs scored in the fourth.
“The challenge I faced tonight,” said Edens, “was coming in and shut them down and trying not to allow any more runs.”
With help from her defense behind her Edens pitched a pop-out to third baseman Mir Escalera to end the inning.
“The support that I have from my defense when I’m pitching,” said Edens, “is absolutely amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better support system than them. I know when the ball is hit, I can trust that they can get a job done because they have my back just like I have theirs.”
The bottom of the fourth resulted in another two runs from the Warriors making the score 4-3 Broncos after two key hits from Grass and Samara Allred.
The sixth inning was a stand still as both teams prevented the other from scoring. As the seventh inning approached once again Sterling was able to shut down Hastings and advance to the bottom of the inning still down by one.
The inning began with a single to left by Brooklyn Botts. Mia Luques came in to pinch run in her place acting as the potential game tying run for the Warriors.
“Honestly going in to pinch run wasn’t anything new for me,” said Luques, “and if it meant my wheels would help the team out, I would do it in a heartbeat! I love the rush of being put into a situation like that cause I feel like I get a burst of energy and I feel like my legs are flying.”
Catcher Vanessa Burnett also singled to left during her at bat as the Warriors now had two runners on base.
Escalera then approached the plate. She too also hit a single out to left field which was enough for Coach James to send Luques home to score and tie the game at 4-4.
“I saw that Mir was up and she is clutch,” said Luques, “and from the beginning I knew I had to run my butt off. Once I saw the hit I just took off running and was prepared to slide if it was a close play at home. I even told her, ‘you better hit it cause I’m gonna be running.’”
Kaycee Carter, who was called out on a controversial call at home in the first game, found her pitch and earned another single for her team. This loaded the bases for Grass.
“The thought that was going through my head when I went up to bat,” said Grass, “was to keep my head down on the ball and to just hit a line drive or a deep fly ball.”
Grass did much more than that. After a long battle at the plate she found her pitch and took it. The shot was gone the second it hit her bat and was over the fence just as fast.
“As soon as the ball came off of Tiah’s bat,” said Edens, “I knew then that she just hit a walk off grand slam and I was headed for home plate before she even touched first base. I’m so happy for her that she did that.”
The walk-off grand slam earned the Warriors an 8-4 victory over the Broncos.
“The feeling of hitting that ball to win the game was nothing that I’ve ever felt before,” said Grass. “I was so excited! I knew that once I made contact with the ball that it was gone! The sound of the ball coming off the bat was the best sound any hitting could ever wish to hear. Coming around third and seeing the big smile on Coach Alyssa’s face was the best thing I could have seen! But most of all seeing how excited my team was, was the best feeling ever! I couldn’t stop smiling once I rounded third and seeing all the girls at home yelling, cheering, and jumping up and down from excitement! My absolutely favorite part was the feeling of winning the game! It was my first collegiate career grand slam and my first ever walk-off grand slam.”
Watch below for all the best highlights from the game two seventh inning comeback victory!
Song: Legend by The Score
Edited by Hannah Abbate