Important games always come down to the wire, and on Thursday, it was a critical Central California Conference matchup with postseason implications between the second and third place teams in Buhach Colony and Pitman, but only one team would be declared the winner.
Both squads battled for 12 innings and over three and a half hours for the winner to be decided when, with one out and bases loaded in the bottom half, Pitman’s Skylar Taylor drove in Alexis Mettler with a walk-off sacrifice to take the 5-4 victory.
“We went into extra innings last time after having a nice lead so that’s why I knew not to expect anything until it was done. I always felt we were in good shape and I felt good about this game,” Pitman head coach Joe Lewis said. “We had to stay up in the playoff race because only three will make it.”
After the win, the Pride (8-6 overall, 4-3 CCC) sit comfortably in that third place position, just above Atwater, whom the Pride will play today.
In both games against the Thunder this year, the Pride have gone extra innings and are 1-1.
Three hitters tallied 10 hits for the Pride. Mettler was 4-for-6 while Taylor added on a 4-for-6 performance with four RBI and Regan Wolfley batted 2-for-5.
“Lately we haven’t been hitting, but this game we did,” Lewis said about his offense. “All game we hit and base running errors hurt us but eventually we knew we would get into that position to score.”
Up 1-0 going into the second inning, the Pride’s Wolfley chipped an RBI single blooper down the right field line to extend the lead to 2-0 by the end of the second.
By the end of the third, the Pride had tacked on their third run with a Taylor RBI double that scored Nicole Bailey to make it 3-0 heading into the fourth.
Returning from her injury sustained last week, Mettler took the mound for the Pride as she tossed 10 innings and allowed only four runs, however picked up the no decision.
“She [Alexis] was lucky it wasn’t her throwing arm but she was a bit sore, hence the reason we pulled her out near the end because she was getting a little winded, but luckily we have two great pitchers on the team and that is what worked out at the end,” Lewis said about his pitchers’ performance.
Sally Acosta, who would pick up the win, pitched the final two innings and completely shut down the Thunder offense.
All together Acosta and Mettler would toss up 12 innings and allowed 11 hits with four runs allowed.
It wasn’t until the fourth inning that the Pride allowed BC to get their first hit. And that would be all after a three-up and three-down inning in the fifth that was followed by a strong sixth resurgence from the BC offense that tied the game at 3-3 after a throwing error at first by the Pride.
Both offenses disappeared for nearly four innings until the top of the 10th when the Thunder tacked on their fourth run with two outs to go up 4-3 heading into the bottom half.
With only three outs left, again it was Taylor who nearly slammed the walk-off to the left field fence but instead got the standup RBI double that scored Bailey to tie it at four apiece.
The defense and Acosta held off the Thunder until finally in the bottom of the 12th, the Pride would get their game-winning score after a home plate collision that involved Mettler would end it.
“We are aggressive when we’re base running and I tell the girls we need to, but sometimes they take it upon themselves to do things, but I tell them to listen to the coaches because if they run into an out it will be on us,” Lewis said. “We are definitely going to be running a lot in the next practice I know that.”
Next game for Pitman will be today as they travel to play in Atwater with the game set to begin at 4 p.m.