Enochs High School sophomore Brooke Bettencourt stood on third base in the bottom of the sixth inning Tuesday, in temperature nearing triple digits, with her team trailing by two runs.
She looked into the Eagles’ dugout and inquired as to how many outs there were.
Then, straight out of the figurative left field, the Enochs right fielder turned again to her dugout and asked, “How do you say ‘out’ in Spanish?”
Now that’s a sign of a relaxed, confident player, unfazed by the game’s pressure.
Bettencourt’s apparent faith in her teammates wasn’t misplaced. The Eagles sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame, pounded out six hits and scored five runs en route to a 5-3 victory over Rodriguez of Fairfield in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I softball playoffs at Enochs.
The Eagles advance to Saturday’s second round, where they’ll play Delta River League champion Sheldon at noon at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
“Once we got that rally going, we really picked each other up,” Bettencourt said. “Maybe we’re too relaxed because we always seem to start out flat. But we only need one hit and we’ll get hot.”
Not that they needed much help getting hot. The temperature, according to Enochs coach Tim Williams, may have caused his team’s slow start.
While Enochs starter Elisa Perez retired the first nine batters, Rodriguez’s Brenna Mitchell wasn’t far behind. Three Eagles reached base off Mitchell, but none got there with a base hit.
In the fourth, things fell apart for Perez, who gave up three consecutive singles – none of which were hit hard – to load the bases with none out. After an infield fly and a strikeout, it looked like she might escape. But Mustangs first baseman Ciara Bell hit a clean single to center that scored the first two runs.
Rodriguez made it 3-0 in the top of the sixth on a run-scoring double by shortstop Melissa Eisen.
“We’ve been living off defense and pitching the whole year,” Williams said. “But we can swing the sticks a little.”
The Eagles wasted little time proving that.
ShiAnn Anderson, the No. 9 hitter who fanned in her previous at-bat, laced a single up the middle for the Eagles’ first hit.
“We’d been struggling with the slow stuff and her movement,” Anderson said. “I just wanted to put the ball in play and make them make a play.”
Leadoff hitter Haylie Prater flied out before Bettencourt singled up the middle. Shortstop Erica Guzman singled to score Anderson, putting runners on the corners. Left fielder Jordan Barber singled in Bettencourt to make it 3-2, and after Angelique Salinas singled to load the bases, the Eagles tied the score when everybody moved up 60 feet on a wild pitch.
Alexis Flores walked to reload the bases, bringing up Perez with a chance to help herself.
“I was a little nervous up there,” Perez said. “I just went up there thinking I needed to help myself out and my team. I got an outside pitch and I just took it right field.”
Perez’s two-run double brought in Barber and Salinas with the go-ahead runs.
From there, the Eagles were three outs from victory, and Perez set down the side in order, finishing the game with two punch-outs.
By the way, how do you say ‘out’ in Spanish?
“I don’t know,” Bettencourt said. “I never got an answer.”
For the record, it’s fuera.