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Glendale beats Hoover by half a step

Softball: Bang-bang play at first base keeps Tornadoes from scoring tying run in season finale rivalry game.

May 14, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk

SOUTHEAST GLENDALE — For Glendale High’s softball team, a great pitching performance, some timely hits and seven innings of nearly mistake-free defense almost weren’t enough to nail down a win over archrival Hoover in both teams’ Pacific League finale on Thursday.

The visiting Tornadoes, whose offense was rendered dormant for much of the afternoon by Nitros pitcher Casey Ramirez, rallied to get to within one run in the top of the seventh inning before Kaitlyn Williams’ attempt to beat out a ground ball with the tying run at third base came up half a step short, allowing Glendale to exhale and enjoy a 2-1 victory.

“I was really, really nervous, but I knew we would pull through,” said Ramirez, who held the Tornadoes (12-14, 5-9 in league) to five hits over seven innings. “I knew we could get [the last] out.”


Recording the final out of the game while leading, 2-0, proved to be pretty tough for the Nitros, even after Ramirez retired the first two batters.

Kenya Buckley kept Hoover’s hopes alive when she was hit by a pitch and Christina Iezza followed with a walk.

Buckley scored from third on a passed ball while Briana Manzanero was batting and Manzanero was safe at first without a throw after tapping a hit back to Ramirez.

Williams grounded the first pitch she saw to second base and nearly beat the throw, but was out on a bang-bang play at first base.

“[It was] too little, too late, as far as our rally goes,” said Hoover Coach Rich Henning, whose team defeated Glendale, 10-0, in the first meeting on April 15 at Hoover. “I think we may have underestimated Glendale High a little bit, based on the way we played them.

“I kept trying to tell the girls, this is Glendale High, it doesn’t matter if you beat them 500-0 the first time you played them.”

Glendale only got three hits on the day against Hoover’s hurler, Iezza, who went six innings, but they were all triples and the game came down to Meghan Spencer’s second three-bagger of the day in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Kristi Cabana led off the inning and was safe at first base on a throwing error.

She scored on a line drive by Spencer that landed just inside the right-field foul line and bounced all the way to the fence.

Abby Nagy drove in Spencer with a groundout to give Ramirez seemingly all the run support she would need, as she retired the Tornadoes without much trouble in the fifth and sixth.

“She is a nice little pitcher,” Henning said of Ramirez. “She went in and out, changed her speeds real well and kept us off-balance all day long.

“She pitched a great game, but not to take anything away from Christina. Christina’s been our horse all year long and she’s done nothing but just grit her teeth and put it into overdrive.”

Hoover received base hits from Manzanero and right fielder Jessica Perez and two hits from catcher Karissah Garcia.

Taylor Weaver led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a triple for Glendale, but was stranded at third base.

“It’s a good way to end [the season],” said Glendale Coach Christine Paknik, whose team finished 5-9 in league. “They put all their heart and soul into it and it showed.

“They persevered and that’s all you can ask for.”

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