The Culver softball team won their first game of the season, beating Delphian 18-17 April 16, at home.
The game was a back-and-forth event with neither team giving up. There were lead changes through the entire game, including a dramatic finish.
Culver and Delphian were tied 14-14 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Emma Hayes was walked to start the inning and soon stole second with Nena Mendoza up to bat.
Mendoza hit the ball to shallow center field for an RBI single. Mendoza quickly stole second base and Anyla Rico grounded out, but advanced Mendoza to third base.
Mendoza was able to steal home on a passed ball and the Lady Dawgs took a 16-14 lead after the sixth inning.
Culver needed to stop Delphian from scoring if they wanted the game to end after the top of the seventh inning.
The first three Delphian batters were walked and the bases were loaded for the Dragons. An error by Culver scored one run for Delphian and a hard ground ball past second base tied the game.
The Dragons were able to take a late-game lead, scoring on a passed ball and the Lady Dawgs needed to score to escape another defeat.
Sierra Bautista hit a single to shallow center field to start things off for Culver. She quickly stole second base as Tegan Macy was up to bat.
Macy struck out swinging, but the catcher dropped the ball and Macy used her speed to run to first and beat the throw.
Kinzi Jagels also struckout, but the catcher dropped the pitch, Jagels beat the throw to first and Bautista scored on a throw back to the catcher. On a bad throw to the catcher, Macy sprinted to home plate as fast as she could and slid into home safely, scoring the game-ending run.
"This was really exciting," Mendoza said. "Not just for me, but for the whole team. Sometimes we would get down on ourselves, but this game we learned to come back and win the game."
"In the fifth inning, we had a big struggle and were down," she said. "We came together and talked to each other and that is what you have to do as a team, just talk to each other and make sure you are not down as a team. When Tegan (Macy) slid home, it was wonderful. I knew we were going to win the game and it was beautiful."
Mendoza has been the main pitcher for the Lady Dawgs and pitched all seven innings for Culver.
"It was a fun game and we both played pretty similar," coach Shelly Brown said. "The girls were pumped to play and I told them this was a very winnable ballgame. If it wasn't for a couple innings with a few errors, the score would not have been that close."
"Their confidence went through the roof after that game," she said. "They were excited to play and win some more. They couldn't stop talking about the win. Tegan Macy had a great game at first base and I am really proud about the way she played. All the girls are pumped about playing and getting back to the field."
"I tell the girls to be a winner, you need to take that step to better yourself everyday in practice," said Brown. "I am a firm believer in you play how you practice, so you need to work everyday and it will show up on game day."
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