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Crosstown showdown ends in walk-off thriller
Bulldog softball remains undefeated after topping Pride
Softball 1
The Turlock High varsity softball team celebrates after they beat Pitman 6-5 in Thursdays walk-off contest. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ/The Journal

Thursday’s Central California Conference game between Turlock and Pitman high softball teams was everything you expect in a crosstown rivalry matchup. It was a wildly entertaining game with numerous momentum shifts and a dramatic ending.

Both teams have been off to historical runs, with the Pitman Pride going undefeated after 11 games at 10-0-1 and Turlock--now--off to a 6-0 start in their final season competing in the CCC.

Expectations were high going into the matchup and the game didn’t disappoint, ending in a wild walk-off RBI double from Lauren Edh of Turlock to score Mackenzie Campbell for the go-ahead with two outs, and the Bulldogs won it, 6-5.

“We ironically practiced that very situation with the same batter and so I had complete confidence and she just tagged it,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden. “We had different kids come in and do well for this team.”

“It’s always tough when we play our crosstown rival,” said Pitman head coach Joe Lewis. “The girls were up and ready and we had a few defensive mistakes that gave them free runs and they took advantage of it, they are a good team.”

Turlock certainly took advantage, scoring just two earned runs for the game.

With the victory, Turlock is now 10-5 overall and 6-0 in the CCC, which puts them in first place. Second place is Atwater with a CCC posting of 5-1.

“As far as the season goes, we are really happy at 6-0, and we have had two come-from-behinds and then one walk off against Merced tied 0-0, so we’ve been playing real solid ball, everyone in the lineup hits and everyone does their job.”

Pitman is 13-4-1, including a 2-3-1 CCC record and currently fourth in the CCC.

“I would like to think we will finish in the top three or two, I feel we should be there but we have to battle every game and not make mistakes or give teams a chance to get back in it,” said Lewis.

Pitman led after the first inning, 1-0, then Turlock took over the lead in the bottom of the second scoring three runs.

Edh scored the first run on an error to first base by Pitman, then Faith Erb followed with a two-run double on a full-count that extended the lead to 3-1 by the end of the second inning.

Pitman put up a run in the top of the third when Kai Deleon scored Holland Henson to cut the lead to 3-2.

The score remained the same until the bottom of the fourth when Shelby Frutoz of Turlock hit a RBI single down the third base line on a 2-2 pitch to extend the lead to 4-2.

Kai drove in sister Lehua Deleon in the top of the fifth to cut Pitman’s deficit to 4-3, then two more runs followed for the Pride.

First Morgan Aguiniga nailed an RBI double to tie it 4-4 and then in the middle of the next at-bat, Aguiniga followed with the go-ahead run after she stole third, and an error throw to third by Turlock allowed the senior to round the base and make her way home to go up 5-4.

“We know they hit well, they’ve been playing well and their record is great,” said Ogden of Pitman. “We knew that, we knew they hit well and would come out ready to play, but we felt we were ready to play too and it showed today.”

At that point, the game saw two scoreless innings until the bottom of the seventh.

With just three outs remaining, Frutoz led off the inning with an intentional walk then with one out, sophomore catching standout Mackenzie Campbell came through for her team with a clutch RBI double that brought Maryn Thompson home to tie the game at 5-5 with one out.

From there, Sophie Mayol stepped up to the plate but popped out to the infield and then Edh came up to home plate and contested over half a dozen pitches from Pitman starter freshman Gabby Deleon until she finally connected on an 0-2 count and leveled a line drive to deep center.

Campbell made her way home from second base with ease and the ‘Dogs clinched their sixth straight CCC victory of the season and their eighth consecutive dating back to last season.

They have also beaten the Pride in their last three meetings dating back to last season.

“We know the second half of league will be tough because we have a target on our backs now,” Ogden added. “It’s cliché but we will play just one game at a time and prepare for the team we have that day and see how it goes. But we feel good, we have a really solid team.”

Turlock’s Frutoz started and pitched seven innings as she faced 29 batters and allowed just three hits, three earned runs and struck out three.

Jessie Miranda was 1-for-4 and got on base three times, while Frutoz went 1-for-2 from the plate with two walks and an RBI.

Campbell was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Edh was 3-for-4 and had the game-winning walk-off RBI.

Pitman’s Gabby Deleon tossed seven innings, allowing eight hits and gave up just two earned runs with a strikeout.

Morgan Aguiniga went 1-for-3 with an RBI and scored a run. Kai Deleon went 1-for-4 with a double and RBI while sister Lehua was 1-for-2 with a HBP and a walk.

“We will clean up the defense. The bats, I felt, that the girls swung really well and came in with a good mindset since Shelby is a good pitcher and we came out swinging,” Lewis added.

Pitman will next get a bye and then square off with Golden Valley at home at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Turlock’s next game will be at home against Atwater at 4 p.m. Tuesday.