It pays to listen to your coach.
A natural right-handed batter, East Union’s Alejandra Rascon switched to the other side of the plate after her freshman season and never matched her freshman success — until Thursday.
After going 0 for 3 from the left side of the plate, Rascon switched to the right and laced a single in the sixth inning.Then in the top of the 11th inning she launched a two-run towering shot just inside the left-field foul pole that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 road win for the Lancers over Sierra in Valley Oak League softball action.
“She started out her freshman year as a right-handed batter and was tearing the cover off of the ball,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “Then her summer-league coach switched her to left-handed and I have been cursing that since the day it happened.
“After batting left her first few times and not being really excited about them she went to the right side on her own and got a single in the sixth inning and then had the biggest swing of the year for us. I think we just got better because one of our best hitters has made the decision to go the way we all think she hits best.”
With the game scoreless in the 11th inning and Alexis Erich (2 for 5) on base due to the international tiebreaker, Rascon (2 for 5, home run, two RBI) planted a 2-2 offering over the fence to give the Lancers (8-0 VOL, 18-2) a 2-0 lead.
“When I was going up to the plate I was thinking that I had to get a hit, get on — anything,” Rascon said. “I was undisciplined in my first few at-bats, but then I switched to the right side to try something new and it worked so I stayed on it.
“I had two strikes so I knew I had to get the ball in play and I got lucky. It felt good off the bat and I thought it may have been foul, but it ended up being a home run.”
The Timberwolves (7-3, 13-4) did not fold after Rascon’s home run. Freshman Lindsey Walljasper got the last two outs of the East Union 11th via strikeout – she tallied a total of eight strikeouts – and then Sierra rallied in the bottom of the inning.
Called up to the varsity game for this game, freshman Desiree Mejias led off the bottom of the 12th on second via the international tiebreaker and came home on Kendelle Messersmith’s groundout to make the score 2-1 with two away. The next batter grounded out to end the game.
Sierra coach Vic DeAnda was pleased with his team’s effort.
“The kids played a great game,” DeAnda said. “East Union is a heck of a team that can hit and to keep it to 2-1 in 11 innings we have to keep our heads up because we looked good.”
The Timberwolves had the bases loaded in the second inning and left runners in scoring position in the fifth, sixth and 10th innings with East Union pitcher Delaney Pamplin never losing her composure.
“I just try and stay calm when I am getting stuck or I need to throw a strike,” Pamplin said. “This game was a little nerve-racking because they gave us a real battle but it was a good game.”
Pamplin struck out three and allowed eight hits while Walljasper gave up seven hits.
Deja Guzman had a bunt that turned into a double for the Lancers in the ninth inning when second base was left uncovered and she never slowed down. Legacy Barnes was 2 for 4 with a double for Sierra.
Central Catholic 0 (5)
In Modesto, Melissa Hansen hit two doubles and drove in three runs in a 3-for-4 effort, and the Buffaloes (6-2, 13-4) clubbed 16 knocks in their tune-up for today’s big game with visiting East Union.
Haighley Kissee (three runs, two doubles) and Annissa Gonzalez (three RBIs) also went 3 for 4. Aryanna Martinez belted a home run. Kissee was the winning pitcher and struck out six in the two-hit shutout.
East Union 10, Sierra 2
Ragan Fowzer anchored the East Union (12-4) win from the pitcher’s circle, fanning 12 against three walks and scattering just four hits over six innings.
Kendra Campbell went 2 for 2 with three RBIs to lead the offense. Destiny Alvarez and Faith Stofferahn were defensive standouts.