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Two errors in seventh doom Lancers
East Union first baseman Kelsey Emerson nearly makes a tough catch in foul-ball territory near the dugout. - photo by HIME ROMERO
It was a pitchers’ duel for five innings.

Then the bats woke up while defenses fell asleep.

East Union’s softball team led by a run heading into the seventh inning, but visiting St. Mary’s capitalized on two multiple-base errors to sneak away with a 5-2 non-league win at Big League Dream’s Yankee Stadium Thursday.

“We took victory and turned it into defeat,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said.

The Lancers dropped their first game of the season after winning their first four to win the Ceres Tournament last week, and the fashion in which they lost was tough to take.

Victory seemed imminent to start the seventh inning but things turned sour in a hurry.
Pinch-hitter Phylicia Thomas, leading off from the No. 9 spot in the order, bounced a soft grounder down the third-base line and was slow to jump out of the batter’s box thinking it was going foul.

It stayed in play, and EU third baseman Cassie Waggy had more than enough time to book the first out. But her throw sailed past first baseman Kelsey Emerson, and the ball took an unfortunate bounce and rolled deep down the right-field foul line.

Thomas was able to scoot around the bases to score the tying run uncontested.

Five batters later with two outs and two on, Gina Buscaglia lined a sharp single right, and all runners scored after the ball skipped past and between the legs of outfielder Tori Souza.

“I would have loved to have lost 3-2 if a girl hit a two-run homer, but not like that,” Goulart said. “That’s hopefully our worst inning of the year.”

Pitcher Kourtni McCall gutted her way out of some tough innings and did well enough both from the circle and the plate to get the win.

She bailed herself out of a bases-loaded jam with a big strikeout in the sixth inning, but St. Mary’s had already struck with the game’s first run off Buscaglia’s single to right.

McCall made up for it in the bottom half of the frame with an inside-the-park home run to deep right that also scored Laura Gann, who reached on an error.

McCall struck out seven but gave up four unearned runs on 10 hits and two walks.

“I thought McCall pitched well and it was great to see her hit the big home run, but it would have been nice for us to finish strong,” Goulart said. “There are no excuses; we just didn’t get the job done.”

Taylor Brink was 3 for 4 for St. Mary’s. Noel Montes and Buscaglia (two RBIs) each went 2 for 4, and Melissa Gillet finished 2 for 3.

Rams pitcher Cassie Rivera gave up just three hits and fanned five. Waggy belted two of those hits for EU, which didn’t have one of its top players, Cherie DeJesus (tonsillitis), available.

“It was obvious we missed DJ (DeJesus) tonight,” Goulart said. “Not having that big bat in the lineup affected us tonight.

“It’s hard to quantify why we’re not hitting the ball because we’re a good hitting team. Their pitcher wasn’t overpowering, but we were hitting a lot of balls off the handle or off the end of the bat. We’re going to address that as well as our defense.”

The Lancers will have plenty of time to work out the kinks, as they won’t play again until March 20 at Clovis for their final tune-up before Valley Oak League play starts.

Ripon 9, Delhi 1
RIPON – Ripon High opened its softball season with a strong showing from junior Kirsten Mortimer, getting a complete-game outing in the circle and a homerun in Ripon’s 9-1 shellacking of the Hawks Thursday.

Mortimer went the distance for Ripon, striking out 10 and allowing one walk. She also went 2 for 4 at the plate, hitting a double and the bomb while driving in two runs. Teammate Nicloe Kaiser also went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles.

Alex Vargas went 2 for 4 with a triple and Alyssa Gomes was 2 for 2 with a double.

Ripon will try to reel off another victory Tuesday when it travels to Lathrop to battle the Spartans. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m.