Toller’s single lifts Mavs to win in regional tournament
The scouting report was that Cameron University’s softball team was a lot like Colorado Mesa’s.
The scouting report was right — the teams went at each other for nine innings Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South Central Region.
Abby Toller came through with an RBI single up the middle in the ninth inning, lifting the No. 11 Mavericks to a 3-2 victory.
“Abby had a great day,” CMU coach Ben Garcia said. “She came through big for us.”
Kellie Mrofcza led off the bottom of the ninth with a four-pitch walk, and Cameron went to its bullpen. Zoe Pakes put down a sacrifice bunt to move Mrofcza into scoring position, and on a 3-2 pitch, Toller drove the ball to center, easily scoring Mrofcza with the winner.
Toller went 3 for 4 as the Mavericks’ designated player, scoring one run and driving in the biggest run of the day. Mesa had seven hits, with Maggie Manwarren and AnnMarie Torres both hitting doubles.
“The air here is thick,” Garcia said. “It goes nowhere. Ann hit one ball, absolutely crushed it. It went to the fence, but it would have been out anywhere (in the RMAC). We have to find other ways to hit it.”
Colorado Mesa scored twice in the fifth inning, with Toller and Boren hitting back-to-back singles with two out, and Manwarren doubled down the left-field line, scoring both runners
The Aggies put a shift on against Manwarren, the Mavs’ speedy leadoff hitter, bringing the right fielder in as an extra infielder, and leaving a gaping hole up the middle because the center fielder shaded toward left.
“They had three infielders on the left side to keep her from bunting. If they would throw a pitch down the pipe she could have run for days,” Garcia said. “The pitcher did a good job, and Maggie hit it pretty well every time. She came through, though. I’ll take those situations. Their left fielder was almost on the line and their center fielder was in left-center. Their pitcher wasn’t flashy, but she hit spots pretty well. I was happy to see him bring in the other (pitcher).”
The Mavericks had a chance to win it in the bottom of the seventh, with Toller at third and two out. Alex Dufour grounded to second and appeared to beat the throw, but the umpire ruled she ran over the bag without touching it.
“Alex said she touched the bag and I believe her,” Garcia said. “And Ann (called out at the plate on a wild pitch in the eighth), the girl touches her with her hand and the ball was in her glove. We have to fight through those and they scratched out a couple of things with two outs.”
McKenzie Surface (27-4) threw 151 pitches and had her right arm packed in ice after the game, but Garcia said she just kept battling. She walked four and struck out 11.
“She seemed to be 3-2 on everybody. The umpire was very tight both ways, and the ball moves a little bit more,” Garcia said. “She needs to work that inside a little bit more, the ball was moving outside the zone and he was calling at the catch. Her adjustments came, but they were at 3-1 or a 3-2 count.”
And as long as she kept them in the game, Garcia was confident the Mavs would find a way to win it.
“They’re going to find a way. I know it’s not going to happen every single time, but the good part about these girls, they’re going to find a way, give me another shot. They want another opportunity, and sooner or later they’re going to come through.”