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Swingin’ For the State

This past Sunday, the Shasta College Softball team had a chance to go to the State playoffs for community colleges. After the first game finished, everyone except coach Sonny Stupek had a grim look on their face.

The first game saw the Sierra College Wolverines hit three homeruns as they throttled the Lady Knights 9-1 by way of the mercy rule. The leadoff batter for Sierra, Jenna Thorne, went 3-3 with 2 HR and 4 total RBI as Lady Knights’ pitcher Megan McColpin suffered only her second loss of the year.

The second game however saw Shasta completely turn the tables as they belted three homeruns of their own and Kayla Spini pitched a shutout, sending the Lady Knights to the State Championships in Bakersfield this coming weekend.

Spini’s off-speed pitches were in heavy contrast to McColpin’s rise ball which Sierra frequently crushed hard. Spini garnered two strikeouts but even Sierra, who is a hard-hitting team, was swinging and missing frequently.

Shasta got started quickly, putting Sierra on the back foot early as Racie Carrel smacked a two-run homer to the opposite field, which amped up the crowd, after Katie Eiler had gotten on base thanks to an error by the shortstop. Spini got out of a jam in the third inning after allowing the first two batters to reach with singles, as she retired the next three batters.

Then the Lady Knights punched their ticket to Bakersfield.

Dominique Foster, Katie Eiler (by way of another shortstop error) and Racie Carrel all got on base in the bottom of the third inning to load the bases for Noelle Blake, the Lady Knights’ cleanup hitter. Blake hadn’t practiced all week due to a back injury, and as a result hadn’t been playing at 100%.

Earlier in the season, Blake had smashed a homerun that hit the scoreboard in left field, so everyone knew she could hit the long ball. Blake stepped up and smashed a grand slam to right field that put Shasta up 6-0. They weren’t done yet. Ally Wimer, as the very next batter, crushed a homerun to center field for a 7-0 lead, and a little baseball phrase called “back-to-back jacks.”

This prompted a pitching change for the Wolverines from Maddie Phelps to Gabby Gonzalez. Gonzalez batted in the next inning and her ground ball was expertly fielded by Shasta shortstop Nikki Foster, who threw to the outstretched Noelle Blake for a great defensive put out.

The Lady Knights added the eighth run in the bottom of the fourth inning, which gave them the lead they needed to force the “eight-run rule.” It was Racie Carrel in her final home game at Shasta College who completed the weekend with an RBI double, scoring Dominique Foster. Carrel finished 3-3 with a homerun and 3RBI.

Spini stepped to the mound looking to seal the deal. After giving up a single, she retired the next three batters to finish the complete game shutout, the successful home playoff games, and start the mad celebration at the pitcher’s mound.

By Patrick Carr

More to come soon!

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