SBVC (13-9; 4-2) had to battle back from a six run deficit, chipping away in the fourth and sixth innings, only to have that hole dug a little deeper in the top of the seventh and then to almost win it in the bottom of the seventh, another crazy and exciting game from the Whittier Rio Hondo Roadrunners (12-14; 5-1), with the home side falling 9-8.
SBVC would open up the scoring in the bottom of the first when sophomore short stop Lauren Melchor (Redlands East Valley) hit a leadoff home run, her third of the season, to give SBVC the early 1-0 lead.
Then Rio Hondo pounced on sophomore right handed starting pitcher Alicia Morris (10-5) (San Bernardino Cajon) and by the time the dust had settled, the starter was chased after two innings, surrendering seven runs, none earned, on eight hits, walking one and striking out four. By the time sophomore right handed pitcher Alese Graham (Redlands East Valley) stepped into the circle, the Roadrunners had a 7-1 lead in the top of the third, for the next four and two thirds, she shut down the Rio Hondo lineup, tossing a shutout.
In the bottom of the fourth, SBVC would start chipping away at the lead, as sophomore catcher Laurie Haro (San Bernardino Aquinas) reached on an error and Morris clobbered a double to left, scoring Haro. After a single to left by sophomore short stop Serena Ovalles (Redlands H.S.), Morris moved to third and was sacrificed home by freshman right fielder Jesikah Fortunato (Colton H.S.), getting SBVC within four runs, 7-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, SBVC added two more runs to get even closer, as Haro singled to center and reached second on an error by the Roadrunners center fielder and then Morris hit a single to center, scoring Haro. Ovalles reached on a fielder's choice and with two down and sophomore left fielder Ellen DeYoung (Redlands Arrowhead Christian) was hit by a pitch. Then things got interesting as Graham reached on an error by the Rio Hondo short stop and then Ovalles scored on an error by the center fielder, all on the same play. Making the score 7-5.
This game had the makings of the last game between these two teams at Whittier on February 27th as SBVC won the game in the top of the seventh, 4-3. Graham was pitching a gem and had gotten the first two batters of the inning to fly out and ground out to the short stop, but then she surrendered her only two runs of the afternoon on back-to-back home runs, making the score 9-5, Rio Hondo.
SBVC had the Roadrunners right where they wanted them, with the top of the order coming to bat in the bottom of the seventh and a Rio Hondo pitcher that was trying to toss her 13th complete game. The Rio Hondo center fielder had to make a running leaping snow cone catch in order to get the out on Melchor, who led off the inning. Then sophomore third baseman Christina Acosta (Colton H.S.) punched an infield single and Haro reached on a fielder's choice, getting Acosta to second on an error by the Roadrunners short stop. Two on, one out with Morris stepping into the batters box, which she hits into a fielder's choice, knocking out Haro and leaving SBVC with one out left. Then Ovalles absolutely tattoos a shot to left field, a three-run jack that gets SBVC within one, 9-8. The luck continued as Fortunato singled to right, with the tying run aboard and two outs, the next batter grounded out to the third baseman.
Information, Photos & Story provided by SBVC Sports Information.