Ortale’s slam sparks Mavs
CMU splits Sunday set with Fort Lewis
Sunday afternoon, Brooke Ortale sauntered to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, knowing the Colorado Mesa University softball team probably didn’t deserve to win the game.
Down 3-2, the Mavericks had miscues with Fort Lewis College playing small ball, at one point dropping three fly balls in a row, and Mesa was being outhit 10-3.
One swing of the bat, and Ortale’s grand slam drastically changed the mind-set of the players and the outcome of the game. The line-drive blast that drifted over the right field fence sparked a six-run outburst and led to an 8-3 win in the second game of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader at Bergman Field.
Mesa dropped Sunday’s first game 6-2, but it took three of four games in the series against Fort Lewis (6-13, 4-10).
“I was proud of them for turning it around after the first game because we kind of tucked our tails between our legs and let them kind of play,” Mesa coach Candace Abrams said. “That’s not Maverick softball. What we did in the second game was.”
The Mavericks (12-7-1, 10-3-1) loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth with a walk and two infield singles, their second and third hits of the game. Ortale watched two balls before blasting the game-winning home run.
“I was just watching the batters in front of me, and once they started getting on, it looked like the pitcher was getting frazzled, I guess,” said Ortale, who also hit a home run Saturday. “I was looking for a pitch to do something with and just got lucky that it went over (the fence).”
After the home run, Taylor Gross walked, Lisa Pille doubled, and pinch-hitter Rachel Boothe slapped a two-run double up the left-field line to cap the surge.
“Our team has so much depth and so many ways to get hits,” Abrams said. “We have too many good swings, which is a great problem to have as a coach.”
The Mavericks hit six home runs during the series and batted .405 during the three wins. The hot hitting put CMU third in the RMAC and sets up a battle with Colorado Mines, which leads the RMAC and has won 14 of its past 15 games. Mesa faces Mines in Golden at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
“We have to be sure to take care of the little things,” Abrams said. “Mines is rolling through the conference right now. It’s a big series for us, and we have to go back and focus on being fundamentally sound. We have to clean up the fly balls and some of the things we didn’t do well in this series.”