Both teams have a ton to be proud of today. That was an awesome display of softball. I’ve gotta head back to the office but I’ll give my final impressions later tonight. Two champions crowned today: Freedom and Albany.
California 11th: Jamie Foley starts at 2nd and Stefanie Hatley will be the hitter. Hatley with a high fly ball and its off the wall in center. Foley wasn’t running though and there are runners on second and third with nobody out. Thats some not-so-good baserunning. Krista Miller is the hitter with no one out. They’ll walk her intentionally and it’ll be up to Shelby Tomasello with the bases loaded. Amy Niedzwiki is in to run at second base for Hatley. She’s the potential winning run. High fly ball to shallow right and Wood makes the catch. Foley attempts to score and Wood guns her at home. Great tag by Robertson on that play. Now, there are runners on second and third, Brittany Wright is the hitter, and there are two outs. Williams gets ahead 0-2 with two fastballs. Changeup gets her and FREEDOM is the 3A East Bay champion. FREEDOM WINS 3-2.
Freedom 11th: Chrissy Stalf should be the runner here and Susan Robertson will be at the plate. Chelsea Hennings will in fact run for Stalf. Robertson is up there to bunt. Robertson takes a strike before squaring again and works the count to 3-1. Jonas takes the bunt off and Robertson swings and misses. Interesting call there but I like it. Aggressive. Robertson singles the next pitch up the middle and Hennings is in. Freedom leads 3-2. Tomasello is arguing that Hennings hit her in the glove but I don’t think this argument will hold water. Robertson is on first with no outs. Zepeda pops one into right for the first out of the inning. Katie Wood comes up with one away. Wood bunts and Wright trips over her third baseman. No worries though, as Wright throws her out from her knees. Great play. Two down, Robertson on second, and pinch-hitter Erica Bowers comes to the plate. Bowers is a freshman. Bowers works a walk and Robertson sneaks into third. Bad defense there by the Grizzlies, they fell asleep. Kirstie Strelo is up and she’s switch-hitting in order to bunt. Bowers steals second and now Strelo will go left-handed again. She grounds out to Wright and we go to the bottom of the 11th. Freedom 3, California 2.
California 10th: Nisbet will lead things off with Amaral starting at second base. They’re going to ask Nisbet to bunt I’d imagine. Nisbet gets the perfect bunt down and Amaral heads to third. Christie Taylor is up with one out and a runner on third. On Nisbet’s bunt, Robertson made a great play to get the out. Williams gets ahead 0-2 to Taylor. Taylor pops the changeup up and Zepeda puts it away. Two down for Jamie Foley. Pitch in the dirt is expertly blocked by Robertson. That’s trusting your catcher. Fastball gets by Foley for a 1-1 count. Foley takes strike two on the outside corner. Foley fights off a rise ball that didn’t rise quite enough. Williams drops the changeup off the table and that’s the inning. We head to the 11th, still tied at 2. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 10th: The international tiebreaker takes effect now and the runner will be Malena Padilla. That’s a great start for Freedom. Westlund will be at the plate, followed by Williams and Stalf. Westlund tries the bunt and Loofburrow makes an amazing diving catch. Great play. Williams is up now with one out. Williams hits a chopper up the middle and Nisbet gets FULL extension to make the play. What a play by Mariah Nisbet. Padilla moves to third with two out and Stalf at the plate. Stalf hits a chopper up the middle that Wright deflects to the third baseman Loofburrow. Loofburrow with a great throw and the inning is over. California 2, Freedom 2.
California 9th: Wright, Loofburrow and Amaral to hit for Cal this inning. Williams gets Wright swinging with the rise. Loofburrow Loofburrow strikes out and Robertson throws to first to complete the play. Amaral pops out to Zepeda in foul territory and we’ll be going international tiebreaker rules when the 10th begins. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 9th: It’ll be Zepeda, Wood and Osborn this inning for the Falcons. Zepeda grounds one up the middle that Nisbet can’t quite get to with a dive and that’s a single for Freedom. Katie Wood is up next and she pops a bunt up to Hatley at first. Big out right there. Osborn to the plate. Osborn tries to bunt and she pops up to Taylor. Strelo is next. I have a hunch she’ll be swinging. She slaps one just past Wright and Nisbet can’t make the play in time. That’s a single for Strelo and it brings Padilla to the plate with two on and two out. Zepeda and Strelo pull off a double steal and now there are runners on second and third for Padilla. Padilla grounds past Wright and Nisbet makes a lightning-quick toss to first for the out. That, my friends, is a questionable call. Freedom coach Jeff Jonas is very upset in the Freedom dugout and I think he’s got a case. California 2, Freedom 2.
California 8th: Hatley, Miller and Tomasello due up for California. Ground ball to Westlund on the first pitch of the AB and the Freedom SS handles it flawlessly for an out. Miller grounds out to, guess who, Westlund for the second out of the inning. A changeup from Williams gets Tomasello swinging. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 8th: The good news for Freedom is it has the three girls it would want up this inning. Westlund, Williams and Stalf are due up for the Falcons here in the 8th inning. For those who have already forgotten, Albany won the 2A East Bay championship 7-6 in 8 innings. Westlund takes the first pitch to left field for a leadoff single. That brings Williams to the plate. Hannah Williams just tried to sacrifice bunt. Whoa. On the next pitch Williams grounds to Nisbet who goes to second for the force. Williams will get a courtesy runner, Erica Bowers. Stalf is up with one out. Chrissy Stalf with a big hit, a single through the right side of the infield. Bowers moves to second and Susan Robertson is up with one out. Robertson lines to Hatley, who tags first before Stalf can dive back and that’s the inning. California 2, Foothill 2.
California 7th: Amaral, Nisbet and Taylor are the three Grizzlies trying to prevent this thing from going to extra innings. Williams uses the rise to strike Amaral out. Nisbet comes to the plate with one away. Nisbet bounces a two-hopper through the left side and she’s aboard with one out and Christie Taylor at the plate. Taylor squares to bunt but pulls back for a ball. After a strike from Williams, Taylor bunts foul for strike two. She grounds into the hole at SS and Westlund makes an outstanding throw to get the out. Now Nisbet is on second and Foley’s at the plate with two away. Williams blows a fastball by her for strike one. Williams air mails one to the backstop and Nisbet advances to third. Foley fouls one off for strike two. Changeup, strike three, lets go extras for the second time today. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 7th: Osborn and Strelo are the first two up this inning and then Padilla will hit to turn the lineup over. Wright needs just three pitches to sit Osborn down. That brings Strelo to the plate. Strelo tries to slap it and lines out to Wright. Nice snag by Wright. Padilla is up. A soft liner to the right side is handled by Hatley and the top of the inning is over. California 2, Freedom 2.
California 6th: Miller, Tomasello and Wright are due up. Miller continues to be the one that can hit Williams as she smashes a leadoff double into the left-center alley. That ball was smoked. Tomasello is next and I have a feeling a bunt is coming. There it is and Zepeda throws her out. Miller advances to third on the sac bunt. The freshman, Brittany Wright, is up in a big situation. Williams immediately gets her into an 0-2 hole. Wright tries to bunt and misses. That’s strike 3. Loofburrow steps up with two out and Miller on third base. Loofburrow hits a shot up the middle but Williams snags it. Oh my. We’ve seen some awesome defense today and that was a prime example because that could have been the game-winner. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 6th: 4-5-6 due up for Freedom. Stalf, Robertson and Zepeda. Stalf uses an inside-out swing to drive one to LF but Miller is there for the catch. Robertson is up next. The catcher works a walk. Chelsea Hennings is the courtesy runner for Robertson. Zepeda is up. A foul ball by Zepeda catches Taylor on the left arm and it’s going to take a minute for her to walk that one off. Zepeda goes opposite field again but this time Cal’s RF is there for the out. Katie Wood steps to the plate with Hennings on first and two out. Wood lines out to Nisbet and the inning is over. Cal 2, Freedom 2.
California 5th: Amaral, Nisbet and Taylor to hit this inning for Cal. Amaral hits a ground ball to Stalf that gets dished back to Osborn at first for the out. Cal contended the ball was foul. That brings Nisbet to the plate with one away. Nisbet does an awesome job staying back on an 0-2 changeup and pokes it to right for a base hit. That was a fantastic piece of hitting by Nisbet. Hatley bunts and Zepeda throws her out. Now Nisbet is at second, there are two outs and Foley is up. She hits a grounder to the right side, Osborn makes a great diving stop but she can’t throw her out. Osborn saved a run. First and third with two out for Stefanie Hatley. Passed ball on Robertson and Foley advances to second. Hatley skies a pop up to the middle of the infield. Stalf takes charge and records the final out. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 5th: Sara Osborn leads off for the Falcons. A pop up behind Nisbet causes her to backpedal awkwardly but she puts it away for the first out of the inning. Kirstie Strelo is next for the Falcons. Strelo lines a base hit to right field with one out. That brings Padilla to the plate with one out and one on. Padilla smokes a single through the six hole and Westlund comes up with two on and one out. That’s going to end the day (for now) for Miller and freshman Brittany Wright is in to pitch. Miller goes to left field and flex player Megyn Rodriguez comes out. Westlund is still at the plate in another big spot. Kyle says he would have left Miller in the game. We’ll see if the move pays off. Westlund grounds to second and Padilla is called out for interfering with Nisbet trying to field the ball. Strelo goes back to second and Westlund remains at first. Williams is now at the plate with two out. A ground ball to Nisbet and Wright gets out of the inning. Nice job by the freshman. California 2, Freedom 2.
California 4th: Hatley, Miller and Tomasello due up against Hannah Williams. Hatley pokes a base hit over the second baseman and that’ll bring the big bopper, Miller, to the plate with one on and nobody out. A wild pitch allows Hatley to go to second. Williams is visibly frustrated with the strike zone. A ground ball to Westlund leads Hatley to make a bad base running mistake, running into an out at third. Nice play by Westlund to get the lead out. Miller is at first now with one out and Tomasello at the plate. A fly ball to left field gives the Falcons some trouble and Strelo has it go in and out of her glove for an error. Wright is up with runners on first and second. In to run for Miller is Amy Niedzwiki. Wright pops up and Stalf grabs it for the second out. Loofburrow comes to the plate with two on and two out. Williams strikes Loofburrow out to end the inning. California 2, Freedom 2.
Freedom 4th: Westlund, Williams and Stalf due up for the Falcons. If they’re going to do anything offensively, I think it has to start with Westlund or Williams right now. Westlund answers the bell with a drive to right-center. She’s into second with a double and that brings Williams to the plate. She hits a HIGH fly ball to right center for an out but it does get Westlund to third. Stalf with a slow roller to third and 3B Loofburrow comes home with it. The throw gets away from Taylor, Westlund scores and Stalf goes to second with one out. Robertson is up next. Robertson grounds to first for the second out of the inning and Zepeda is up with Stalf on third. BIG two-out hit by Zepeda. She rolled it through the right side of the infield for a single. Stalf scores and we’re tied at 2. Katie Wood comes up next and she grounds to second for the final out. California 2, Freedom 2.
California 3rd: Nisbet, Taylor and Foley due for the Grizzlies. Nisbet gave everyone a thrill with a high fly to left center but Padilla catches up to it for the out. Taylor strikes out looking on a nice pitch by Williams. Williams seems to have regained some good momentum this inning. Foley grounds back to Williams and Freedom is back in the dugout after a good inning of defense. California 2, Freedom 0.
Freedom 3rd: Osborn, Strelo and Padilla due up in the third. Osborn leads off with a soft liner to Hatley at first. Good catch by the first baseman and there’s one out. Strelo strikes out trying to slap. Padilla is up to turn the lineup over. Padilla grounds out to second and Cal is in control at the moment. California 2, Freedom 0.
California 2nd: Hatley, Miller and Tomasello due for the Grizzlies. Hatley with the day’s first big blow, a fly ball that gets over Freedom RF Katie Wood and all the way to the wall. Hatley is in at 3rd with a triple and the Grizzlies are threatening. Krista Miller PARKS one to left center field. Oh my goodness. That ball was WAAAAAAYYYYYY gone. A two-run home run. That ball made it to the parking lot, over both fences. The Cal faithful is jacked up and rightly so. That was an absolute bomb. Shelby Tomasello has a tough act to follow here. Tomasello offers at a rise ball for strike three. Freshman Brittany Wright is next. She hits a sinking liner to center and Malena Padilla gives the Falcons something to cheer with a great diving catch. Loofburrow follows with a smoked single to center and the ball gets past Padilla and Loofburrow takes second easily on the error. Amaral comes to the plate and Padilla robs her with an amazing diving catch in right center field. What an inning. California 2, Freedom 0.
Freedom 2nd: Due up for the Falcons are Stalf, Robertson and Zepeda. There’s a little sun peeking through the clouds at the moment. I think it’s safe to say there was a bit bigger crowd here for the 2A game. Still a good crowd here though. Stalf catches one a little fat and lines out to Hatley at first base. Solid contact from Stalf. Robertson is next at the plate. Brittany Wright is warming up in the bullpen for California. Why, I do not know. Robertson takes an outside fastball and drives it to right field for a solid single. Zepeda is up. Zepeda fakes a bunt and pulls back. Next pitch is a ground ball to SS and Tomasello dishes to Nisbet for an out. Katie Wood comes to the plate with Zepeda on first and two out. Miller ends the intrigue with a strikeout. Freedom 0, California 0.
California 1st: Nisbet, Taylor and Foley are due up for the Grizzlies. Hannah Williams in the circle. Nisbet goes down swinging for the first out. I’m sensing a pitcher’s duel this afternoon. Taylor works the count full but pops up to Osborn at second base. That brings Foley to the plate. Changeup from Williams sits Foley down. Freedom 0, California 0, end of one inning.
Freedom 1st: Malena Padilla is the leadoff hitter in Wiley’s absence. She’s got quite a bit of pop for a leadoff hitter. Lately she’s been hitting fifth for the Falcons. Krista Miller is in the circle for Cal and she gets ahead of Padilla 0-2. Miller with a low and outside pitch and Padilla swings through it for a strikeout. One out. Kim Westlund is fouling a few off and is making good contact. Low and outside heater and Miller strikes out Westlund for out No. 2. That brings up Hannah Williams, who is hitting third today instead of her usual fourth. Slow roller to Nisbet at second and that’s the inning. Freedom 0, Cal coming to bat.
2:50 pm: Game time. I gotta say, this is one heckuva time not to have your leadoff hitter in the lineup. Here we go with Freedom at the plate.
2:45 pm: I stand corrected. Kortnee Wiley is not here. I have no idea what’s going on.
2:45 pm: Yes, you and I had the same reaction when we saw the Freedom lineup. Where is Kortnee Wiley? She is here and will be in the dugout. I’m not sure what’s up. More on that later I suppose. We’re doing introductions now. Game time is not far away.
Malena Padilla, CF
Kim Westlund, 2B
Hannah Williams, P
Chrissy Stalf, 1B
Susan Robertson, C
Jackie Zepeda, 3B
Katie Wood, RF
Sarah Osborn, 2B
Kirstie Strelo, LF
Mariah Nisbet, 2B
Christie Taylor, C
Jamie Foley, RF
Stephanie Hatley, 1B
Krista Miller, P
Shelby Tomasello, SS
Brittany Wright, DH
Kaily Loofburrow, 3B
Stefani Amaral, CF
Flex: Megyn Rodriguez, LF
Alright, I have hot dog, soda and candy in hand and I’m ready for the 3A championship. California football coach Tony Sanchez is in attendance. The Grizzlies are having a phenomenal athletic year. Freedom’s got a good contingent as well. Let me get a few lineups for you.