Girls softball: Walkoff hit leads to 1-0 win over Palo Alto

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Girls softball: Walkoff hit leads to 1-0 win over Palo Alto

Nona Penner

At the end of the seventh inning, the score was still scoreless. Stellar defensive plays by the Matadors kept the Palo Alto High School Vikings from scoring any runs, yet the girls were unable to put themselves on the scoreboard, either. It took one hour and forty-five minutes and eight innings before the Matadors scored the deciding run they needed to win the game 1-0.

Senior Clarissa Wells hits a ground ball but ends up being thrown out in the bottom of the third inning during April 24’s game against Palo Alto High School. The Matadors’ next two batters got out as well, as much of the game was a battle of defense between the two teams. Photo by Nona Penner.

Senior Clarissa Wells hits a ground ball but ends up being thrown out in the bottom of the third inning during April 24’s game against Palo Alto High School. The Matadors’ next two batters got out as well, as much of the game was a battle of defense between the two teams. Photo by Nona Penner.

On April 24, girls softball played against the Vikings after only one practice over the break. Despite this, they did not allow the Vikings to advance onto bases easily. The Matadors’ fielders were consistently on the ball with several spectacular catches and plays. Offensively, however, they as well as Palo Alto, had trouble getting on base.

“We were anxious at bat and were hitting outside [pitches] a lot … there was a little rust there,” coach Ray Teixiera said.

The Matadors demonstrated their defensive strength throughout the game. During the top of the second inning with one base runner on first and two outs, Palo Alto senior Emily Swanson hit a sinking line drive to the right outfield that junior Kylie Page caught, ending the inning.

At the top of the fourth, pitcher senior Alanna Onishi achieved her first strikeout with two of her best pitches just within the strike zone. Onishi only allowed one walk the entire game.

By the sixth inning the game still had not seen many base runners; each team only had two hits at that point. During the bottom of the sixth, Palo Alto switched pitchers to sophomore Julia Saul. The odds seemed to be turning in the Matadors’ favor for a run. With two outs, freshman Noa Yakir went up to bat and hit a double that escaped the gloves of the outfielders, finally giving the Matadors the possibility of a run. However, freshman Janaye Sakkas ended up safe at first on an error by Palo Alto, but Page’s hit was caught and she was thrown out by the second baseman. The game could have swayed either way during the seventh inning.

“[I told them], we just need to stay with it and stay confident,” Teixiera said.

With the score still tied, teams were forced to start an extra eighth inning and the pressure mounted. Despite this, the Matadors kept up their strong defensive front. One of Palo Alto’s most powerful hitters, Glassford, went up to bat with two outs and hit a single down center field. Senior Clarissa Wells nearly tagged out Glassford at second, but the Matadors would not allow the Vikings any more opportunities to score. Palo Alto sophomore Hannah Bundy hit out to the infield and attempted to skid to first, but was thrown out, ending the inning.

The bottom of the eighth proved to be the deciding moment of the game. Mack hit a pop out, followed by a surprise bunt to the left by Peters that allowed her to run to first. Seaver struck out, and with two outs and only one runner on base a ninth inning seemed likely. However, Yakir, who had hit a line drive earlier in the sixth, drove the ball all the way back to the fence, allowing Peters to score the winning run.

“I was thinking, my team’s counting on me. I can’t think of hitting it over the fence, I just have to advance us with a single,” Yakir said.

The Matadors’ next home game will be against Homestead High School on April 26 at 4:00 p.m.