Hawks’ softball gets revenge win
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty’s Maci Whaley hits a high pitch to deep left field for a three-run double to provide the only runs in a victory over Fowler on Tuesday.
The last time the Liberty Hawks softball team saw the Fowler Redcats, the Redcats were celebrating a come-from-behind victory to win the Buchanan Preseason Tournament earlier this month.
The Hawks wanted to exact a measure of revenge in Tuesday’s game against Fowler. The Hawks scored three runs in the third and didn’t let Fowler sniff home plate in a 3-0 non-conference victory at Liberty.
“It was a good victory,” head coach Keith Davis said. “This was a team that took a championship away from us so it was good to come back to beat them.”
The offense was held to just four hits, but the Hawks made them count. Maci Whaley had three of the four hits, including the game-winning, bases clearing double.
“It was nice to get the girls on and Maci Whaley came up with the big hit,” Davis said. “I had speedsters on the bases so I knew if we got a ball in the gap, they can all score. Maci went in there and hit one in the gap. It was huge. It was the game.”
Despite tossing 114 pitches, Liberty pitcher Karsyn Bauer kept the Redcats off the scoreboard. She walked two and gave up three hits, but struck out 10 batters. Although she couldn’t find the strike zone on her first pitch (8-of-26, 30 percent), she made the pitches count when she needed two. Five of Fowler’s eight baserunners reached after a first pitch ball.
“Sometimes, it’s not always pretty with the way you do it,” Davis said of his ace. “She found ways to get outs. She got strikeouts in key situations. She grinded it out today.”
Fowler pitcher Kameryn Cordova was also effective. She allowed four hits and the three runs, but they all unearned. She only threw 70 pitches and struck out three, but kept the Hawks off balance. She was opposite Bauer on first-pitch strikes. She threw first pitch strikes to 17-of-23 batters (74 percent).
While both pitchers stood up to their ace status, the Hawks made noise in the second when Whaley led off with a single, went to second on a bunt and to third on a groundout. She was left stranded on a strikeout.
The Hawks put their only runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning with the bottom of their line-up. No. 8 batter Bella Garcia hit a ball off the end of her bat that went through the first baseman’s legs for an error. Riley Workman reached on a bunt single when no one was covering second.
Lead-off batter Paige Chapman was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Cordova got an infield fly rule-popup for the first out of the inning. Lauren Chapman hit a scorching line drive down the third base line that was snagged for the second out.
Two pitches later, Whaley hit a deep fly ball that carried from centerfield to left-center. The ball one-hopped the fence. Garcia, Workman and Chapman scored on the play, however, Whaley was caught taking a too big of a turn at second for the final out.
From there, the pitchers took over. Cordova allowed one baserunner over the final three innings — a single by Whaley in the sixth.
Bauer retired 15 of the first 17 batters before running into trouble in the sixth. She got the first out, but walked a batter. The next batter hit a ball to right, but a throw to first was high for an error. The next batter hit a grounder that hit the baserunner for the second out.
The Fowler clean-up batter hit a line drive to right field for a single, however the runner at third didn’t get a good break for the plate. Rightfielder Workman threw a strike to Rylee Bocchini behind the plate and the runner went back to third. Bocchini threw to third baseman Chapman, who ran down the runner to end the inning.
Bauer allowed a single and another batter reached on an error in the seventh. Bocchini picked off a runner at first and Bauer struck out the next Fowler batter for a 3-0 victory.