The Saddleback softball team rallied to defeat San Diego Mesa College, 5-4, on Wednesday night at the softball complex. The Gauchos were down 4-0 before turning the tables on the Olympians with a late rally.
Saddleback fell behind early as Mesa scored three runs in the opening inning and another in the second inning for a 4-0 lead. The Gauchos finally woke up in the bottom half of the fourth inning, scoring a run to cut the deficit to 4-1. Saddleback then scored three times in the fifth inning to tie the game before scoring a go-ahead run in the bottom half of the sixth inning.
Saddleback took advantage of a number of miscues by Mesa in the field in the three-run, fifth inning. Naomi Varela led off the inning with a walk and then back-to-back singles from Vanessa Alvarran and Jillian Gellatly cut the lead to 4-2. Tori Mikkelson then walked to load the bases with no outs in the inning. The Gauchos then had some misfortune when Dani De la Fuente was called for catcher's interference for the first out of the inning. The next batter was Paige Welk, who flew out to center field, prompting Saddleback runners to tag up and try to advance. They caught a big break on a bad throw from the center fielder, scoring two runs on the error when both Alvarran and Gellatly crossed home plate to tie the game at 4-4.
Saddleback scored the eventual winning run in the bottom half of the sixth inning, and again received some help from the Olympians. The Gauchos had back-to-back singles from Aubrey Maher and Naomi Varela to start the inning. Following a pop out and strikeout, Saddleback had runners at second and third base with two outs in the inning. Shay Saoie then walked to load the bases, setting up another pressure situation for the Mesa pitching staff. They responded by plunking De la Fuente, thus bringing in Maher with the go-ahead run.
Saddleback held on for the win in the top half of the seventh inning when Mesa took advantage of some wildness on the mound to load the bases with one out in the inning. McKenna Walton then settled down, getting a lazy fly ball to left field and a ground out back to the mound to end the game. It was a sensational finish for Walton (pictured), who gave up just three hits over the final five innings after a rough start to the game.
Saddleback is now 2-1 following the win. The Gauchos are scheduled to host Santa Barbara City College on Friday afternoon, weather permitting. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00 PM at the Saddleback Softball Complex.