Just as the raindrops fell across the Christopher High softball diamond, senior Kayla Medrano sprinkled in the game-winning hit in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory over North Monterey County on Tuesday.
“I was just looking for anything to hit,” Medrano said. “I got a pitch I liked and did what I could with it.”
Medrano delivered that timely hit the Cougars and manager Allison Robinson had been aching for, neatly placing the seeing-eye single between the shortstop and left fielder to chase home Brittney Souza, who had singled and advanced to second on a throwing error.
“I was just waiting for someone to step up and get that key hit,” Robinson said. “I knew Kayla was due though, so I had confidence that she was going to make it happen.”
Both squads entered the fray with 2-0 records in Monterey Bay League play. The Cougars (7-2 overall) exited at the lone unbeaten team. It was the Cougars second straight extra-inning outing. They beat Monterey in 11 innings last Thursday. CHS is on a six-game win streak.
“A game like this feels really intense. It’s one of those games where you feel like you have to win because you put so much into it,” Souza said. “Every little thing counts.”
Way back in the bottom of the fifth inning, CHS thought it had unlocked a 0-0 tie. Medrano lifted a fly ball to right field, which allowed Arianna Vasquez, who led off the inning with a single, to tag up from third and head home for the apparent 1-0 lead.
NMC (10-3 overall, 2-1 MBL) appealed, and after a brief discussion, the umpires ruled Vasquez left the bag too early – negating the run.
“I didn’t want to argue that. She didn’t tag,” Robinson said.
The zeros went back up on the board.
Cougars’ starter Aly Olvera (9IP, three hits, nine strikeouts) kept up her end of the pitchers’ dual. North Monterey County’s starter Daniel Blaylock bent but didn’t break, even when CHS relentlessly threatened for that run that seemed to become more and more elusive. The Cougars collected seven of their nine hits between the fifth and ninth innings and put the leadoff runner on base in the sixth, seventh and eighth. And in all three frames, that runner was advanced to third. And still, no dice. That is, until the ninth.
Souza, who two innings earlier snuck a double just inside the right-field foul line, poked a one-out single to left this time. And when the relay throw flew over the second baseman’s head, the senior scooted to second.
“She has momentum going in her direction,” Robinson said.
A fly out and a walk separated Medrano and the decider.
“This was a really good team – a good hitting team,” Robinson said. “Aly came out and pitched an excellent game. And again, we are hitting the ball, we just need more timely hitting.”
A busy week continues for Christopher today as it hosts Carmel in a nonleague contest that was rescheduled from earlier in the month. The Cougars then travel to Watsonville to take on Pajaro Valley on Thursday. Both games start at 4 p.m.