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Bats come alive in sixth
Scharmann keys five-run inning with go-ahead hit
Sierra first baseman Karissa Valdez squeezes it to get Tracy’s Samantha Balanon out by a step. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Heather Scharmann was determined not to make the same mistake twice.

Scharmann keyed host Sierra’s five-run rally in the sixth inning, belting a go-ahead single to left in the Timberwolves’ 5-2 come-from-behind victory over Tracy Tuesday.

The third-year varsity starter lined into an inning-ending double play with two base runners on in the fourth. She found herself in a similar situation in the sixth, with one out and runners in scoring position.

Scharmann battled Tracy pitcher Morgan Hayes to a full count, and she sent the seventh offering into shallow left field for a run.

“I just didn’t want to go oh-fer, honestly,” Scharmann said. “I was just trying to battle and get something going, especially with runners in scoring position. I just kind of put the pressure on myself.”

The Timberwolves (2-0) were often at their best in the late innings last year, and it appears that the magic didn’t graduate.

Hayes was untouchable to start, working three perfect innings before lead-off hitter Monica Morado got Sierra going with a seeing-eye single to left.

Morado, who finished 2 for 3, sparked Sierra’s sixth-inning surge after Stephanie Maestretti (hit by pitch) and Marissa Vallejos (single) reached with no outs. Morado executed a textbook bunt and legged out an infield single to load the bases, and the rest was up to the meat of the order.

Emily Silvia followed suit with an RBI single to left-center, with the tying run (Vallejos) scoring after the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Scharmann and Karissa Valdez later went back to back for run-scoring singles, and Dawn Kilpatrick capped the final score with an RBI fielder’s choice.

“We talked the attitude they had last year, their never-say-die type of attitude, and they were bound and determined to carry that over into this season,” Sierra coach Nick Olmo said. “They were playing the kind of ball that we anticipated they will play against a very good Tracy team. I’m really happy with their play.”

Tracy (0-1) plated its two runs in the fifth, with pinch-hitter Piper Johnson driving in Nataly Montoya from the No. 9 hole. Johnson eventually scored on an outfield error.

Hayes ended up throwing four perfect innings and struck out six while yielding seven hits and no walks.

Winning pitcher Gabby Hawkins surrendered one unearned run, five hits and no walks with six strikeouts.

“I didn’t want to let my team down,” Hawkins said of pitching with the seventh-inning lead. “I just went out there, tried to focus and regained my composure after that fifth inning.”