Cardinals even up score with Eagles, await top-seed drawing 

click to enlarge Start it up: Michelle Willis sparked a rally that led to Lowell scoring the game’s decisive run in the seventh. - CLARIVEL FONG/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Clarivel Fong/Special to the S.F. Examiner
  • Start it up: Michelle Willis sparked a rally that led to Lowell scoring the game’s decisive run in the seventh.

As crazy as the events and linescore of the final regular-season meeting between Academic Athletic Association softball powers Lowell and Washington was, only one fact really mattered.

The Cardinals evened the score.

After dropping the first meeting 13-3, Lowell responded with a 11-9 win over Washington on Thursday at Rossi Recreation Center.

The win moves Lowell into a first-place tie with the Eagles (both are 12-1 in AAA play) in the AAA’s A Division and a drawing later this week will determine which will hold the top seed in the league playoffs.

Trailing 9-8 in the top of the seventh inning, the Cardinals were down to their last out and didn’t have a runner on base, but the rally started with senior Michelle Willis.

Willis walked on five pitches, then sophomore Gretel Gunther lined a 3-2 pitch to center field to put the tying run on third base. Madison Donahue-Wolf followed with a bloop single to left field just beyond the reach of the Washington infielders to score the tying run and sophomore Samantha Yee plated the go-ahead runs with a ground-ball single to right.

“I don’t ever give up, but I have to say I held my breath in the top of the seventh inning,” Lowell coach Sascha Ray said. “I didn’t know how much we had left in us. We were down on their home field on their senior day.”

Washington got the tying run on with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Willis, who took over pitching duties in the fourth inning got Washington’s Alice Cen to popup to second base to seal the win. An inning before, the Eagles broke a 8-8 tie on a bloop RBI single of their own from Theodora Pasion.

The final innings were full of drama, but were set up by a dizzying day of errors, misplays and mistakes. The stats speak to some, as the teams combined for 21 hits and 16 errors, and the game featured four lead changes and three ties.

There was a catcher’s interference, a runner got called out for leaving a base with a pitcher in the circle and two balls were thrown out of play into the left-field stands, which do not have a fence shielding them. Washington had more errors (nine) than hits (eight) and Lowell left 11 runners on base.

“Bizarre things happened all day and we didn’t play very good defense,” said Washington head coach Carrie Wert.

“It’s like we were a step behind. We played them flawless last game, but we didn’t bring our ‘A’ game today. “
Willis led the Cardinals at the plate with a game-high four runs and three hits, and pitched the final four innings after starter Majenta Strongheart was removed after allowing four runs (one earned) through the first three.

“It was just crazy,” Ray said. “We knew it was going to be a great game and we didn’t feel as much pressure, because they were playing for an undefeated season.”

 

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Jeremy Balan

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