PIEROTTI: GHS softball showed heart, but loss still stings

Cat Pierotti

I wish I could say I had never seen anything like it.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
I wish I could say I had never seen anything like it.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Only three years ago, as a catcher on the GHS softball team, I was in the same shoes – on the losing end of a championship game against San Benito.

Three years later, I did not realize the wound the Balers left on my heart could still be so easily re-opened.

“Gilroy lost again” was the first text message I sent to my best friend Angelica Galindo, also former Mustang softball player, after the Mustangs lost 3-2 to the Balers in Saturday’s final.

I watched seven long, stressful, hopeful and exciting innings as the Mustangs played their hearts out.

Even though the odds seemed to be against the Mustangs, I believed in them the whole time. The unique thing about Mustang softball is that the team always has heart. We had heart when I played, and I could see during every out, every at bat and every play at this championship game, there was no difference in the amount of dedication and love that each girl displayed for the game.

After the game-winning hit that sealed Gilroy’s fate, the awfulness of losing the championship set in. I felt like crying. It was heartbreaking for every fan and, more so, for every player.

Manager Julie Berggren took her team behind the left-field fence and had the talk that is all too familiar after a loss in such a game; trying to stay positive and look at all you had accomplished, yet unable to stop thinking about what had just taken place. 

I watched the players’ demeanor as they absorbed the new wound that was just left. Casey Lester and Amber Gamboa hugged each other while a mixture of eye black, tears, and dirt streaked down their faces. Sara Lorraine Lira, Dani Hemeon and Lindsey Holt consoled one another with the same devastated appearance. There was no escaping the hurt.

This game was one of the best championship games I have ever seen in my softball career. The Mustangs came out strong in the beginning of the game and scored right away. It was extremely surprising, yet it made the championship seem truly attainable this time. The glimpse of first place was right there. But only for a second until San Benito scored in the bottom of the inning.

As the game carried on, my anxiousness grew enormously as the Mustangs fought for one of the biggest accomplishments high school athletes can experience.

San Benito scored again in the bottom of the second inning with a beautiful double. When that happens so early on in the game, losing a lead on a hit like that, it can be defeating. Every player is victim to this feeling at some point. I even saw it happen with my college softball team. Sometimes, at that point, you feel like giving up. But the only remedy for that is a big ol’ helping of heart. By the Mustangs staying focused and coming back, eventually with the tying run, they showed that more than anyone, they indeed had heart. They play the game for not only themselves , but also because the love they have for each other as teammates.

And ultimately that’s what it’s all about.

“We came back after being down,” Berggren said. “I knew when we were down 2-1 that wasn’t going to be the final score. That’s been the story of this team. They have so much heart and so much love for each other and the game, that they want to play for each other every day.”

The wound will eventually heal. It will take awhile but time really does heal. Although I felt the same anguish all over again watching these players come so close, this time it was different. I was more proud than anything to say that I am a Mustang. After all, the Balers only loss this year was out of state, and Gilroy did not let them walk away with anything easily.