Duffy’s late HR helps Mesa get split
Tie ballgame, bottom of the seventh, one out, runner on first. The strategy is simple: Hit behind the runner.
Ashlee Duffy did exactly what she was told Saturday afternoon with the Mesa State College softball team in that situation against Adams State.
Duffy hit behind the runner — and hit one out of the park, a two-run, walk-off home run to right-center, giving Mesa State a 9-7 win and a split of the doubleheader at Bergman Field.
Adams State won the first game 10-4.
“I wasn’t thinking about anything but move the runner, do what I need to for the team,” Duffy said. “Hit behind her, hit behind her, she’s fast, she can get to third, move the runner over.”
It was Duffy’s second home run of the game — she smacked one off the foul pole in left to lead off the fifth inning, giving the Mavs (22-16, 18-14 RMAC) a 7-4 lead.
The Grizzlies (21-14, 20-10) tied the game by scoring three runs on five straight base hits off Cierra Lard in the top of the seventh. Jessica Rayman, though, came on with no outs and two runners on and got two fly balls and a strikeout to give the Mavs a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh.
“She did a great job,” Lard said of Rayman’s second relief stint of the day. “That’s what I was saying, ‘thank you so much for saving my butt.’ She did exactly what she needed to and got the job done.”
Lard struck out eight in six innings and pitched one of her best games of the season despite Adams State’s late rally.
“Cierra threw a great game,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said. “She just started getting hit there at the end. It’s one of the better games she’s thrown this year and she’s gonna get better and better as she gets older.”
In the bottom of the seventh, the Grizzlies elected to walk Sara Jordan, who hit her ninth home run of the season in the first game and her 10th in the fourth inning of the second game, a three-run shot off the top rail of the fence in left-center. Her first home run of the day cleared the scoreboard in center.
Lita Romero ran for Jordan, giving the Mavs plenty of speed to go from first to third on a base hit and the ability to score on one in the gap. As it turned out, Romero didn’t have to race around the bases.
“I wouldn’t have pitched to her, either,” Mort said of walking Jordan, who’s hitting .405.
“It was good coaching, make somebody else beat you. If I’m him (Adams coach Dervin Taylor) I’m OK with Duffy beating us. If you make somebody else beat you and they do that, more power to them.”
Jordan was about the only person who was surprised to see Adams State catcher Becky Berends stick out her right arm to signal the intentional pass in the seventh.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I guess they’d rather take their chances (putting the winning run on first) than a walk-off home run, even though that’s what happened anyway.”