TRACY - The Falcons and Panthers played to a wild finish Monday night as eighth grader Evy Dolan drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cap a 12-11 come-from-behind victory for the the Panthers over Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove. Dolan was productive from the nine-hole all game as she finished 1-for-4 from the plate and drove in two runs.
Panthers coach Paul Skoglund was impressed with the way his young player performed under pressure.
"Evy did a good job of filling in at shortstop and starting as an eighth grader," Skoglund said. "She really came through when we needed a big at-bat."
Photo by David Merrill
Tracy-Milroy-Balaton’s Madeline Caron slides into the bag as Red Rock Central/ Westbrook-Walnut Grove third baseman Olvia Bittner leaps for the ball during a non-conference game Monday in Tracy.
TMB fell behind early as the Falcons built a 7-0 lead after four innings before the Panthers responded with a big fifth inning, pushing across five in that stanza.
The fifth inning saw just one hit from the Panthers via a single from junior Bailey McConnell. Freshman Lexi Tauer walked and senior Samantha Westberg and Dolan both reached via two Falcons errors. Junior Lexi Nordsiden also reached on a walk and all of the above scored in the inning. RRC/WWG responded with four more runs in the top of the sixth that included singles from Taylor Whilhite, Olivia Bittner, Alexis Osland, Anna Hagen and Emilia Godemann.
RRC/WWG stretched its lead to 11-5, but TMB countered with six runs in the sixth inning to tie the score at 11 as the teams entered the final frame. Nordsiden and McConnell started the inning by drawing walks before Westberg singled and later scored on a triple from Tauer while Sara Stoneberg added a single.
The Panthers were able to keep the Falcons off the board in the top of the seventh and were then able to draw a walk and eventually advance a runner to third on a wild pitch before Dolan got the RBI.
Falcons coach Derek Stevenson felt there were some missed opportunities by his team in the loss.
"We definitely let one get away," Stevenson said. "We made a lot of mental mistakes. We pitched a good game. We can usually put together five good innings and then struggle with the sixth and seventh and that's what happened today."
The Falcons feature just one senior on a team that is freshman heavy and Stevenson, even in the loss, was impressed by his team's offensive performance.
He feels they now have the confidence at the plate to be able to use in future games.
"We know now that we can score runs," Stevenson said. "That's huge for us. We're a young team and we don't score a lot of runs, so that was nice for us to see. We just need to learn how to handle a ground ball when it's hit to us- even on a bad hop."
Skoglund is still experimenting with the lineups and positions on his side as injuries have hampered his initial starting roster. He has girls trying out different positions and different spots in the batting order.
He was impressed with the way they fought from behind.
"It was a crazy game," Skoglund said. "The girls are playing hard. They turned it on in the end. They are learning and to have an exciting finish like this is fun. It's good for the girls because when we we're down 7-0 and had made a lot of mental errors, they could have folded right then and there, but they fought back. Win or lose it was good to be in it at the end."
TRACY-MILROY-BALATON 12, RED ROCK CENTRAL/WESTBROOK-WALNUT GROVE 11
HITTING: Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (Willhite 2-for-4, three runs; Smith 3-for-4, two runs; Bittner 2-for-5, double, RBI, run; Engen 2-for-4 double, run, RBI; Kastner 1-for-5, two RBI, run; Osland 1-for-5, run; Hagen 3-for-4, RBI; Godemann 1-for-4; Price 2-for-3); Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (L. Tauer 1-for-3, triple, two RBI, two runs; Radke 0-for-4, RBI; Lessman 1-for-5, RBI; Nordsiden 0-for-1, two runs; McConnell 1-for-2, two runs; Westberg 0-4, three RBI, two runs; Dolan 1-for-4, two RBI, two runs; Stoneberg 1-for-4, two RBI, run).
PITCHING (IP-H-R-ER-BB-SO): Red Rock Central/Westbrook-Walnut Grove (Willhite (L) 7.0-5-12-10-5-1); Tracy-Milroy-Balaton (Lessman (W) 7.0-17-11-9-3-3).