They were already looking forward to the next (and final) meeting with Buhach Colony High.
A mental error, essentially, cost the Pride in a 2-1 loss to the Thunder on Wednesday afternoon at Arrowhead Field. Afterward, the Pitman players and coaches vowed to forget about the miscue in the third inning, when catcher Allison Kuchan threw the ball to pitcher Janessa Guevara after Buhach Colony leadoff hitter Kayleena Flores stole second base.
Guevara had her back turned, leaving the ball unattended between the pitching circle and second base for only a few seconds. That was enough time for Flores to get across home plate.
Yes, it was just one run. But it was a crucial run in a crucial game in the Central California Conference standings. The Thunder are 6-1 after Wednesday, tying them with Merced High for first place.
The Pride, who were hoping to put aside a 4-0 shutout to Buhach Colony on March 18, fell to 9-5 overall and 3-3 in the CCC for third place, enough for the league’s final spot if the postseason began today. That means they’re one game ahead of fourth-place Atwater High, as of Wednesday.
“I definitely thought we should have gone into extra innings,” said Guevara, the Pitman hurler. “We can definitely compete with (the Thunder). We’re getting stronger and stronger every day. Little mental errors kill us, but after that, we get back up and we know what to do.”
Down 2-0 at the bottom of the seventh, Guevara slammed a double to leftfield before pinch-runner Sarah Mayfield scored after Hannah Hibdon’s sacrifice fly to centerfield to make it a one-run game. But that third-inning mishap came back to haunt the Pride, as they couldn’t produce another run during the two-out rally.
Guevara remained cool throughout the windy afternoon, finishing with nine strikeouts. Shortly after the error in the third inning, when the Thunder loaded the bases with no outs, Guevara went on to strike out three consecutive batters.
Kuchan finished with two hits for the Pride.
After the game, the Pitman coaches and players had their team meeting. And they talked about their next meeting with Buhach Colony on April 21 in Atwater.
“They want them bad,” Pitman coach Cassie Sheppherd said, before taking a breath and repeating the sentence. “It’s going to be an intense game. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t wait.”
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