Mavs lay it on line for fourth win in a row
Outfielders are expected to sell out for fly balls at Mesa State College.
They certainly sold out Saturday at Bergman Field, helping the Mavericks’ softball team sweep a doubleheader from Regis University 5-4 and 8-0.
“Finally, we’re playing to our potential better,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said. “Errorless defense today, our kids are selling out, all three outfielders diving for balls ...”
Center fielder Dani Vallie made two diving catches and threw out two runners for the Mavericks (11-11, 7-9 RMAC). She wasn’t alone — both Gabi Parra in left and Jamie Prather in right made diving attempts on foul balls, Parra ran down a ball headed for the gap and second baseman Lauren Cross made a diving catch in foul territory in the second game.
“She’s been playing terrific all year,” Mort said of Vallie, a redshirt freshman. “Every time we come to the field, Dani gives me everything on the bases, at the plate.”
The Mavericks won their fourth straight game, their longest winning streak of the season, and in the second game got a three-hit shutout from sophomore Cierra Lard, her second strong pitching performance at Bergman.
“I think we have a lot more confidence coming out with two (last week at Colorado School of Mines) and we keep rallying of that,” Vallie said. “We know we have to win.”
Despite getting only half the number of hits that Regis did in the first game, the Mavericks bunched their seven hits together, scoring three runs in the third inning.
Parra grounded out to the pitcher, scoring Vallie, who beat out a bunt single, took second on Lita Romero’s fielder’s choice and stole third. Sara Jordan singled to center to get another run home and scored on Ashlee Duffy’s double to right.
Jordan homered with one out in the fifth and the Mavs scored a big insurance run in the sixth.
Three of Vallie’s defensive gems came in the first game. After Natalie Adami walked to lead off the third inning, Jacki Martinez singled to center. Adami tried to go to third on the base hit, but Vallie’s throw was right on target for an easy out.
She made her diving catch to end the top of the fourth, and saved a run in the fifth when Martinez tried to score from second on a base hit. Again, Vallie came up throwing and catcher Meagan Hennessy blocked the plate to get the bang-bang out.
“We were practicing that all week,” Vallie said. “That happened to me last weekend a lot and I couldn’t get her at home. I was just ready to come up and throw it, and I got her. Right hop, right throw, right bounce, everything.”
Lard (2-1) struck out five and walked only one in the complete-game victory in the second game after being roughed up at Fort Lewis last week.
The Mavericks scored two runs in each of the first, third, fifth and sixth innings.
Prather hit a two-run home run in the third and the Mavs got contribution throughout the lineup. Jordan went 3 for 4 and drove in two runs, and only two Mesa State players didn’t record a hit.
“Five or six kids got better today,” Mort said. “Cierra came back and threw well. When five or six kids get a little bit better from last weekend to this weekend, that’s what I want to see.”