Six-run 7th pushes Christopher past Gilroy

Julie Santiago slides safely into home in the third inning of Christopher's game at Gilroy on Thursday. The Cougars went on to win 9-2 thanks to a six-run seventh inning.

For six innings, Gilroy battled Christopher in a tight matchup befitting an intercity rivalry.
But two errors in the seventh turned the fantastic battle into a blow out as the Cougars downed GHS 9-2 on Thursday.
Julian Santiago gave credit to his girls for staying solid defensively, which has led to three-win week for the Cougars.
“The key to our whole season is playing defense,” Santiago said. “We know we can hit and we know our bats will eventually get hot. I’m proud of their defensive effort all week.”
Christopher brought 11 players to the plate after a dropped ball at home on a force play and a dropped ball in the outfield allowed the Cougars to score six runs and come away with the win.
The Cougars entered the inning leading 3-2 over the Mustangs and quickly loaded the bases with one out on a hit batter, a walk and an intentional walk.
Gilroy looked like it was going to get out of the inning unscathed when Adrianna Figone forced Morgan England to hit a comebacker setting up a force play at home.
But the throw was dropped, allowing Kalena Paredes to score.
That opened the floodgates as Haley Berube singled to drive in two runs.
Again, Gilroy looked like it would limit the damage when Figone got a strikeout and then got Machaela Decker to hit a fly ball to center that looked like it was going to be caught.
But the ball bounced off the fielder’s glove, bringing Berube home.
Decker then scored one batter later on a single from Kylie Huddleson for the 9-2 lead.
Assistant coach Julie Berggren said they just told the team that they had to go back out there in the bottom half of the inning and continue to fight. And she also mentioned, they will see Christopher one more time and not to get discouraged by the outcome of the game.
“We have to face them again. We were right there and we know we were right there,” Berggren said. “We know that we can do it next time.”
From there, Gabi Howard pitched around a leadoff error in the bottom of the seventh.
Gilroy got runners on first and second with one out, but Howard got a pair of ground balls to end the inning.
Howard finished with a complete game, giving up two runs—one earned—on six hits and no walks with two strikeouts.
Her only blemish came in the third inning when Liezl Clark and Makenna Weiler hit back-to-back one out singles.
Christina Chavez was then hit by a pitch to load the bases and Clark scored when Anna Gamboa was hit by a pitch.
Berggren said she normally doesn’t want to see a No. 4 hitter get pegged, but said the team does what it can to score runs.
“That’s what this team will do, though. They’ll scrap. … But it’s OK. It scored a run. It works.
Santiago came out to talk with Howard after the pitch and came away confident his freshman had things under control.
“She’s the kind of kid who doesn’t get rattled,” Santiago said. “I went out to talk with her after the beaned batter and she said the ball slipped out of my hands. … We bust them inside and she’s not afraid to go there.”
Figone then hit a comebacker to force out Weiler at home, but an attempt at a double play went into right field allowing Chavez to score from second.
“They’re not afraid to go back in there fighting and claw back,” Berggren said.
From there, Howard faced the minimum in the fourth through sixth innings before Christopher busted the game open.
The Cougars got on the board first in the third inning when Pati Soria hit a two-out double to score Toni Martinez and Julie Santiago.
England then drove in Soria with a single for a 3-0 lead.
Soria and Berube both finished with two RBIs for the day, with Soria also scoring twice.
“Most of our team we like to be a patient team. We like to make the pitchers work. We like to draw walks,” Santiago said. “But in those situations when we have runners on, they’re two of our aggressive hitters and we let them swing.”
Martinez went 2-4 with two runs scored, with Huddleson going 2-4 with an RBI.
For Gilroy, Weiler went 2-4 with Clark going 1-4 with a run scored and Chavez going 1-2 with a run scored.
“These girls are fighters and always play hard and never give up, which is amazing,” Berggren said. “It’s truly the type of team you want to coach because they just make it fun to be out here because they always give you everything they’ve got.”

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