The setting sun behind South Mountain began to cast a shadow over the pitcher’s circle at the top of the seventh inning, making a win for Mountain Pointe look gloomy and unlikely.
After a comfortable lead – maybe too comfortable – Mountain Pointe let five runs go by in the seventh inning; each runner chipping away at the Pride’s pride.
Dead set against losing, all of a sudden, the bases were loaded with Abigail Cox on first and one out.
Veronica Chavez made the day with a line drive to right field for the necessary RBI to defeat Westview 10-9 in a non-conference game at Mountain Pointe on Wednesday.
It was a mountainous win.
After leading the Knights the whole way, the Pride may have underestimated the base-running skills of Westview. Eight fielding errors gave the lead to the Knights at the bottom of the sixth. Therefore, the Pride ran eight laps around the field after the final call.
“I was really frustrated because I know my team is better than that,” Chavez said, still out breath from the win. “We practiced way too hard to be making those errors. But we had the sticks to back it up.”
Chavez’s game-winning hit helped Mountain Pointe move 2-0 overall this season. Chavez said the key to cracking the bat was staying calm.
“To me, it was bases loaded, one out, tied and you just have to calm yourself at the plate and just do what you do,” Chavez said.
Mountain Pointe coach Sammi Hernreich had a smile on her face after the victory, but had a lot of critiques about the team’s performance.
“Defense,” Hernreich said. “That’s where we kind of slacked a little bit, the defense gave them some plays that shouldn’t have been there, and just hoping our offense comes through.”
After the lead disappeared for the Pride, Hernreich only told the team that they had to “want it more.”
The errors came when the Knights had the bases loaded in the last inning, a line drive led to an overthrow to the bases, which piled up the RBIs for Westview. Hernreich said she knew the team would overcome this pressure.
“This team has already bonded and molded so well together that they have proven they can come out of sticky situations,” Hernreich said. “Other than the few errors that we can tweak in practice, I have no complaints.”
In the end, it all came down to patience. Second baseman Abigail Cox said she just had to keep the calmness about her while waiting to come home off the bases.
“I was waiting for (Chavez) to kill it,” Cox said. “I had my wheels on and everything.”
Even when her count was 3-1, first baseman Grace Camblin said stood her ground and smiled at the pitcher.
“Like, Chavez said, you just have to keep cool; and play your game,” she said.”
– Wolters is a sports journalism student at Arizona State.