A late surge did it for Delhi’s varsity softball team.
Delhi scored nine runs in the fifth inning and three in the sixth as the Hawks toppled the Coyotes of Denair in the league opener, 12-2, on Thursday, in a 10-run rule victory.
“I mean it was our first game, so I was pleased with the things I saw,” said Denair head coach Cindy Turner. “We talk about the mental issue and they understand how they can’t let one mistake be a cancer for the entire team, you need to pick yourself up and your team and I think they see it now.”
“The girls were pumped up and it’s my first year, and I realized there is a rivalry between Denair and Delhi, so it kind of pumped me up but the girls were ready to go,” said Delhi head coach Mike Andam. “We had a long practice heading into this week so they were ready.”
Delhi had lost six straight preseason contests heading into Thursday’s game before winning their first game of the year in dramatic fashion.
Denair was competing in their first game of the year and went up early in the second after Jessica Aguilar laid down an RBI double to drive in Kloie Lum for the first score of the game.
Aguilar was the driven in by Hannah Knox’s RBI fielder’s choice and Denair went up 2-0.
“We started off well in the first four innings and played tough and we were making contact with the ball and in the fifth one error led to another and it brought us down,” said Turner. “And it was too late when we fought back.”
Delhi went on to nearly score in the bottom of the fourth but the defense of Denair was able to make a double play with two runners in scoring position to end the threat.
Denair, who committed all five errors in the fifth inning alone, thought they were in for a possible shutout inning but the Hawks had another thing in mind.
The Hawks batted through their lineup in the fifth inning alone and tacked on nine runs in that inning which was highlighted by a Diamond Orozco two-run double to tie the game at 2-2 with no outs.
Delhi scored seven more runs before getting even a single out in that inning, taking advantage of Denair’s inefficiency.
“We were able to adjust to the pitcher since we had seen different pitchers and I told them to come up instead of sitting back, but they made contact,” said Andam. “Once you do, then you force the other team to make plays.”
Denair failed to make the necessary plays when needed and was never able to recover after going down by seven runs.
The Hawks of Delhi went on to play great overall, committing no errors behind the arm of Valerie Mercado, who tossed a complete game.
Mercado pitched six innings, allowed just two runs on four hits and struck out a pair and walked none as she picked up the first win of the year.
“I told the girls they have to stay focused and at times they will struggle,” said Andam. “We will not give up and we will get to a point where we need to ease up on the gas, when we start first inning we are putting the foot down the pedal and we are not easing up.”
Delhi did not ease up with a large lead, instead they tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning to go up 12-2 with two outs left but by this point, the mercy-rule had been in effect.
“We have a long season ahead of us but I think we will do well and I think it put it in perspective for us, we have a tough team,” said Turner.
Delhi had eight hits and eight walks for the game, including four hit by pitches. Delhi is now 1-6 overall and 1-0 in the SAL.
“We put pressure on them and it pumped us up,” Andam added.
Denair only tallied four hits and is off to a 0-1 start.
“I actually have four pitchers and now it’s time that they get enough work to go deep in a game so I think we will be okay, they are building their confidence so we should be good,” Turner added.
The next game for Denair will be at home against Le Grand at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Delhi’s next game will be at Waterford at 4 p.m. Tuesday.