Big 4th inning lifts Fruita past Central
Fruita Monument tried to explain its 12-run fourth inning in many ways Thursday.
“We gelled,” Mariaha O’Dell said.
“You see your teammate get a hit and you want to get a hit, so you go up there thinking it’s going to happen,” Mallory Paulson said.
And after Fruita reeled off seven consecutive hits in the inning and polished off a 20-5 win over Central in five innings at Bergman Field, the coach weighed in.
“I told them they looked flat,” Fruita coach Jack Thomas said.
That came after Fruita led Central 3-2 after three innings.
“Then it just happened,” Thomas said.
What happened that inning was Fruita Monument (11-4, 7-0 Southwestern League) got 12 of its 24 hits, including Paulson’s bases-loaded double that brought in the first three runs.
Paulson hit a blooper to right field that fell in front of Central’s Breanna Garcia, and the ball took a sudden hop to the right and rolled behind Garcia.
“I figured if I hit it to the outfield ... and it was a pop fly, a run could score anyway,” Paulson said.
She figured right. Of course, Fruita figured right on a lot of things, as evidenced by six Wildcats with at least three hits — Rachel Skillicorn (3 for 5), Hannah Mahnke (3 for 5), Paulson (4 for 5), O’Dell (4 for 5), Kenzi DeCrow (3 for 4) and Morgan Young (4 for 4).
DeCrow, by the way, still leads Class 5A in home runs with 10. O’Dell has eight.
“This is indicative that we’re a good softball team, we’re competitive, and the thing is: It’s something these kids work hard on offensively and defensively, and tonight was just our night,” Thomas said.
Central (8-8, 4-2) had home runs from Tyler Hays and Amanda Etcheverry, who hit a two-run shot in the fourth.
Yet, in the mind of Fruita starting pitcher Jenni Sneddon, who pitched five innings, the score was 0-0 the entire time.
“That’s the key,” Sneddon said. “Lying to yourself matters. It’s always 0-0.”
Meaning she ignored the fact Fruita had double-digit leads.
“It’s hard not to get lackadaisical,” she said, “so you don’t let yourself know the score.”