Mavs raise money for cancer awareness
When they arrived at Bergman Field on Saturday morning, there wasn’t a player on the Mesa State College softball team who actually believed they would play two.
Three things you must remember, though: First, Mesa State coach Kris Mort despises losing games to weather, especially at home.
Second, when you’re playing a team at the bottom of the conference standings, you need to play.
Third, when you’re raising money for breast cancer research, you grab a rake and use as many bags of drying compound as it takes.
“It never rains all day in Grand Junction, not the whole day,” Mort said.
The Mavericks pushed game time back an hour, dumped 20 bags of drying compound on the field, and every coach, player, administrator and athletic trainer raked away in the rain, getting the field playable.
“We came out this morning feeling like there’s no way we’re going to play today,” Mort said.
“But I said we’ve got to get it ready and at least try to get the opening ceremony off, get four innings in so we can have our silent auction.
“I asked Jim (Hazelhurst, an assistant coach), ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘I think you’re crazy.’ ”
And, wouldn’t you know it? As soon as the starting lineups were introduced, the rain stopped. The sun even peeked out in the second game as the Mavs were putting the finishing touches on their first four-game sweep of the season, a 1-0 win in 8 innings and an 18-4 rout of New Mexico Highlands.
“We worked our butts off, everyone, coaches, all the trainers, we were out here working on this thing for probably an hour and a half before we started,” center fielder Gabi Parra said.
“It looked like there was no chance. There were puddles everywhere on the field when we got here. I thought, right, we’re not going play, no way.
“It keeps raining and you’re pouring more quick-dry on it, it’s not going to work out, and all of a sudden we started playing and it just stopped raining.”
Mort was just hoping to get one four-inning game in the book so they could have their fundraiser. It turned out much better, and the Mavs raised $2,982. Added to the $700 the baseball team raised Thursday in its Game of Hope auction and proceeds from ticket sales that haven’t been counted, the athletic department expects to top $4,000 in the two events.
The Mavericks couldn’t get anything going in the first game. Highlands’ Ashley Paiz threw five shutout innings, allowing only two hits, but was knocked out of the game by a line drive off her left knee by Lauren Cross.
In the eighth, Dani Vallie walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jamie Prather. Parra, who hit a game-ending home run in Friday’s second game, lined a game-winning double to the gap in left-center.
“When Dani got on second, I knew if I hit something in the gap here, the game’s over,” Parra said. “I was looking for something middle-in. I was trying to drive it out, but I hit a line drive in the gap. Either way, it worked.”
From a day that started out looking like a washout, getting the sweep and raising nearly $3,000 made it a good day.
“If we would have missed today it would have been eight games canceled on us, crucial games that we needed,” Parra said. “We were expecting to play one game, four innings and then have it called. We just wanted four innings to make it legal. That’s what we were expecting, but it turned out to be a doubleheader, and a sweep.”