The way Enochs’ Lisa Perez and Modesto’s Jasmine Hill were throwing, it was rather obvious that one run was going to decide Tuesday’s Modesto Metro Conference matchup.
Eagles center fielder Haylie Prater delivered an RBI single in the third inning, providing the only run that Perez would need in a 1-0 victory over the Panthers.
With the victory, Enochs improves to 9-1 and keeps pace with Gregori atop the MMC standings. Modesto, now 6-3, falls two games back in the loss column with three games to play.
Enochs and Gregori, which have just two games left on their league slates, face off Thursday at Gregori High School. The Eagles won the first matchup 2-1 in nine innings.
“I expect the same kind of game,” said Enochs coach Tim Williams, whose team has won the past two conference championships, sharing the title with the Jags last season but earning the No. 1 playoff seed. “Gregori will be a little more fired up and ready to go. It’s the same this year as it was last year. We’re excited.”
The Eagles should be excited, considering Perez seems to be hitting her stride late in the season.
The junior right-hander allowed just two hits (both to Monica Gonzalez), struck out 13 and walked only two.
“Being in a game like this makes me have more intensity,” said Perez. “It makes me want to go out there and do my best.”
With the way Hill was throwing, Perez surely needed her best stuff.
Hill, who will sign her letter of intent to play next season at Alcorn State during a ceremony at Rainbow Fields tonight at 7:30, yielded just four hits while fanning five. She didn’t allow a baserunner until the third inning, when Perez led off with a single, and pinch-runner Nohemi Mariscal advanced to second on a ground out. Mariscal couldn’t move up on Shi Ann Anderson’s infield single, putting runners on first and second. Hill fanned Brooke Bettencourt for the second out and was on the verge of getting out of the jam with two strikes on Prater.
“I was just trying to hit the ball and get on base,” said Prater, who laced a solid single to center, scoring Mariscal.
Anderson and Prather would advance on a wild pitch, but Hill fanned Erica Guzman to strand them.
“I like those kind of challenges,” said Hill, whose been pitching most of the season with a sore lower back. “It shows me my strengths and weaknesses as a pitcher.”
With the 1-0 lead, the Panthers got a steady diet of riseballs from Perez, and they just couldn’t lay off the pitch out of the strike zone.
“When you’re in a game like this there’s a sense of urgency to make something happen, and you tend to swing at anything” said Modesto coach Megan Ramsey. “Today, we just couldn’t make it happen.”
Gregori 11, Johansen 1 (5) at Gregori High – The Jaguars pounded out 13 hits en route to a mercy-rule victory over the Vikings. Nikki Alexander was 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles, Melanie Menor was 3-for-4 and Ashley McBay went 2-for-2. Cassie Apple (seven strikeouts) earned the victory for Gregori, which is now 9-1 in the MMC and ready for Thursday’s showdown with two-time defending league champ Enochs.
“Oh, they’re absolutely pumped,” GHS coach Alannah Johns said of her team. “They’re so ready for this game. Both teams are going to bring their best.”