Serrano’s speed lifts Mavs to series win
Windi Serrano would love to play the outfield for the Mesa State College softball team.
The thing is, Serrano’s speed makes her valuable as a pinch runner, especially in the late innings of a close ballgame.
“That’s my job,” Serrano said. “When I get on with two outs, I know I’ve got to score if it’s something (in the outfield). I’ve gotta get on my horse and score. That’s what I’m there for.”
She proved how valuable she is Sunday in the bottom of the sixth inning against Western New Mexico, putting her head down and sprinting home from second for the go-ahead run on a two-out base hit to center field by Lisa Pille. The Mavericks won 5-4 after dropping the opener 9-4.
“Pille got a good hit. I saw it up in the air and I took off,” Serrano said. “I gotta go. I didn’t see anything but home.”
The win gave Mesa State a doubleheader split and a 3-1 series win over the Mustangs, who are ranked ninth in the Central Region rankings, with the Mavericks just out of the top 10.
Serrano ran for Whitney Bailey, who led off the inning with a base hit up the middle. A passed ball allowed her to reach second and she stayed there on successive fly balls to center. Pille, though, singled to center and Serrano was off on contact, never slowing down until she hit the plate.
“Windi sometimes underestimates the importance of her as a runner,” Mesa State coach Kris Mort said. “Of course she wants to be playing, but she and Cierra (Lard) as the reserves in this game won the game for us in the sixth and seventh innings.
“I don’t know how much more I can show you your worth in gold. ... That’s the game winner right there.
“Without (Serrano), Whitney wouldn’t have scored on that ball. Windi’s a smart runner.”
Cierra Lard came in to shut the door on the Mustangs (24-19- 20-13 RMAC) and pick up her first save of the season, retiring all three batters she faced.
The hard-throwing junior was a good change of pace from starter Wailana Borrero, who kept the Mustangs off balance with her drop ball and offspeed pitches. Borrero allowed four runs on four hits and struck out three to pick up her second win of the season.
“Wailana was very effective with what we wanted to do, which was throw some different speed at them and get through as far as we could with her,” Mort said.
“She did a great job. She went a couple of weeks without getting called and when she did it’s clutch.
“(Lard) did a good job, she came in and closed. She worked hard in the bullpen all weekend waiting for her call if it came to that.”
The Mavericks scored three runs in the third inning, with Sara Jordan clearing the bases with a base hit to right field that got past Samantha Lopez and rolled to the fence, allowing three runs to score and Jordan to reach third.
Ashlee Duffy, in her final home game, homered to left-center in the fourth inning for a 4-1 lead.
Western New Mexico got a solo home run by Aimee Vasquez in the fifth and scored a pair of runs in the sixth to tie the game.
It was only the third series win of the season for the Mavericks, but was a big step forward, especially against a team that was ahead of them in the conference standings.
Mesa moved up to fifth in the overall conference standings with four games to play, at Adams State this weekend.
“We’re getting noticed and talked about in the region,” Mort said. “The players understand that. All that matters is postseason play, get there and win. The rest of the season is building blocks in your wall.
“We’ve just gotta get there.”