In the world of sports there are two options for struggling teams; either lie down or step up.
This season has been tough for both Denair and Turlock Christian high’s softball teams but it was the Coyotes (2-7 SAL) who refused to let their struggles weigh them down on Tuesday when they hosted their rivals the Eagles (0-9 SAL). Denair stood behind its pitcher, Madison Hensley, and a host of batters as it orchestrated a 7-5 comeback victory.
Denair entered Tuesday’s matchup with only one league win on the season. The Coyotes knew they couldn’t make playoffs and that they wouldn’t be in contention for the Southern Athletic League Championship at the end of the season, but they still had something to play for — pride.
“They were up and ready to play the whole time,” Denair’s head coach Joel Sanders said. “We are definitely playing for pride.”
The Coyotes found themselves trailing the Eagles 3-0 after the first inning thanks to Catherine Balswick and Madison Yagi RBIs but its ladies didn’t give up. Hensley, in only her second start of the season, kept TC at bay from the hill in the subsequent innings, giving her offense a chance to even the score. In the third inning the Coyotes did just that when a Hensley double and a Paige Shipman single tied things up 3-3.
TC’s offense responded in the fourth with two runs of its own as the Eagles utilized base hits and a handful of stolen bases to reclaim the lead. With two outs Balswick notched another RBI before stealing home base to account for TC’s pair of runs.
“We came in very confident and we gave it a good shot,” TC’s head coach Randy Hopkins said.
Denair worked quickly to reclaim the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Sam Watts put one on the board from third base after a TC error, cutting the Eagle’s lead to one run. The Coyotes finally reclaimed the lead two base hits later when Shipman sent the ball deep into left field, bringing the runners home and putting Denair on top 6-5.
Hensley maintained her dominance from the mound in her first complete game of the season, preventing TC from claiming its first league victory. Denair scored once more in the sixth inning for the final score.
“We just didn’t get enough runs,” Hopkins said. “We’re just going to keep working hard and try to get a win while having fun.”
“We want to improve every game,” Sanders said. “we want more wins before the season’s done.”