ST. GEORGE – The winning streak is still alive. Barely.
The Dixie State softball team reacted to heavy pressure by racking up four runs in the seventh inning to force Cal State-Monterrey Bay into extra innings, where the Red Storm completed the comeback, winning 6-4.
“It was a crazy game,” said DSU coach Randy Simkins. “We had six hits and stranded 14 baserunners over the first six innings. They had only two hits but four runs in the first six innings. We could just not get our runners across.”
That is, until the seventh inning.
Nicole Chavez took the first pitch in the seventh and singled over the third baseman’s head. Courtney Hine advanced Chavez with a single to center field. Courtney Sherwin drew a walk. Mallory Paulson got a hit through the right side to score Chavez, making it 4-1. Sheila Gelter rocked a double to left-center, scoring Hine and Sherwin. After a strikeout, Simkins decided to try and make something happen.
“I had runners on second and third with one out,” said Simkins. “We decided to call the squeeze play and the girls executed it perfectly.”
Paulson ran home on the pitch, trusting that teammate Brooke Budge would lay the bunt toward the first-base line. Otters’ pitcher Cori Reinhardt fielded the bunt, but her only play was at first base.
“Madi Snow then hit a line-drive to third,” said Simkins. “Great hit. She got to first safely but Gelter could not advance for the winning run.” Reinhardt got Chavez to ground out to finish the inning.
Michelle Duncan, who pitched a complete game, retired three out of four batters in the seventh to force extra innings.
“We faced a great hitting team today,” said Duncan. “I know if I can force some ground balls, I have a great defense behind me.”
In the eighth, the Dixie State offense opened up the inning with three straight doubles from Hine, Sherwin and Paulson. Reinhardt was able to escape finally by retiring three of the next four batters, but DSU had forged the two-run advantage.
The Otters got their lead-off batter on base when Madison Casto singled to second base. On the next play, Nicole Pires lined out to Gelter who tagged the bag for an unassisted double play. It was Dixie’s third double play of the game. Anneliese Lopez popped out to center fielder Hine to end the game.
“Duncan got us out of some jams today,” said Simkins. “Certainly the double plays were crucial, but with the wind blowing again today, Duncan’s low-pitch style was big.”
The two teams continue the best of three series tomorrow at 1 p.m. with the Red Storm tabbed as the home team in the opener.
Stats: DSU 6, CSMB 4
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