Crazy play in second game helps Mesa softball team extend season
Colorado Mesa’s softball team ran its way into the South Central Region 1 championship game.
After a heart-wrenching 3-2 loss to Angelo State, the top-ranked team in the nation, earlier Friday, the Mavericks battled back from a 2-1 deficit in the seventh inning to defeat Lubbock Christian 3-2 and stay alive.
“It wasn’t pretty at all,” CMU coach Ben Garcia said. “It was the right call, but sometimes they don’t see it in that situation.”
An interference call against the Lubbock Christian catcher after the Mavericks tied the game in the top of the seventh inning gave CMU the go-ahead run.
Zoe Pakes led off the seventh with a double, and her pinch-runner, Hailey Hinson, beat the throw to third on Kellie Mrofcza’s ground ball.
Bailey Kleespies, who had scored the Mavs’ only run up until that point on a fifth-inning home run, reached on an error, loading the bases for Baylee Boren.
“Baylee hits the top of the fence with the bases loaded, and we’re tagging,” Garcia said. “It bounced right off the bench and the center fielder throws home to get Kellie (after Hinson scored). Bailey (Kleespies) is running to third and the catcher throws it past third and we keep running. That’s where the interference came in, the girl was blocking the plate and the ball wasn’t there.”
Boren kept running to third as the Lubbock Christian coach came screaming out of the dugout, protesting the interference call, bumping the umpire. He was ejected, as was his catcher.
“The runners are still running and he comes out and bumps the umpire and the other (umpires) had to intervene,” Garcia said. “He was still going berserk. Their catcher got thrown out, she was going crazy. It got pretty ugly, unfortunately. Their players just lost it because their coach was going crazy.”
Once things settled down, Kaila Jacobi grounded to short, and Boren was thrown out at the plate. Tyneesha Houkamau was hit by a pitch, but AnnMarie Torres flied out to right.
Kimbri Herring retired the Chaps in order in the seventh to extend the Mavs’ season.
“Because of the first one, we’ll take it,” Garcia said. “We had our hearts broken again. We were cruising (against Angelo). Kenz (McKenzie Surface) was throwing great, she had a no-hitter until the sixth inning. She left the ball up a little bit, they got a couple of hits and that pitcher (Kennedy Urbany) that hit it out, we thought Maggie caught it.
“She ran into the fence and it knocked the wind out of her. The ball tipped off her glove and went over the fence. That was tough, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.”
The three-run home run in the sixth was too much for the Mavericks to overcome in one inning. Maggie Manwarren singled with one out, and after fouling off a half-dozen pitches, Alex Dufour struck out. Garcia tried to get Manwarren into scoring position, but she was thrown out trying to steal, dropping the Mavericks into the elimination bracket.
Pakes doubled in one run in the second and Jacobi did the same in the sixth, and Surface had things under control until the bottom of the inning.
CMU (48-7) plays Angelo State at noon today, needing to sweep a doubleheader to advance to the Super Regional against either St. Mary’s or Texas Woman’s. Second-seeded West Texas A&M lost twice Friday and was eliminated.
“They took advantage of one or two mistakes. Good teams do that,” Garcia said. “They’re No. 1 and have won 56 games for a reason. It’s not a fluke. We’ve just gotta find a way to battle them again.
“The pressure’s on them. We just have to go out and play. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but it’s not that we’re not capable of playing with the best teams in the nation. That’s happening.”