Softball: St. Ignatius uses huge sixth inning to beat rival Sacred Heart

St. Ignatius' Frankie Buonocore slides into second base against Sacred Heart Cathedral at Lang Field on Thursday. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

St. Ignatius' Frankie Buonocore slides into second base against Sacred Heart Cathedral at Lang Field on Thursday. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

By Dante Quazzo

There was no shortage of runs at Lang Field Thursday afternoon, as St. Ignatius and Sacred Heart Cathedral combined to cross the plate 21 times.

Unfortunately for the Irish, the Wildcats did most of the scoring, running away with a 15-6 victory.

St. Ignatius senior pitcher Sawyer Hulbert winds up for a pitch against Sacred Heart Cathedral on Thursday at Lang Field. (Photo by Aaron Perez)

What seemed to be a back-and-forth game in the sweltering heat fell apart for the Irish (3-7, 0-4) in the sixth inning.

After entering the inning up just 8-5, the Wildcats’ offense put the nail in the coffin, scoring six runs in the frame. The half-inning was capped by Helen Buse’s bases-clearing double to put the Wildcats (7-8, 2-3) up 14-5.

Though Sacred Heart’s Racquell Gaffed hit a solo home run in the bottom of the inning, it wasn’t enough to bring the Irish back.

“She’s a slugger,” Sacred Heart head coach Karen Murray said of Gaffed. “She wasn’t herself until that last at-bat when she turned on a changeup. That’s the attitude we need.”

Meanwhile, center fielder Frankie Buonocore and catcher Emi Goldstone provided standout days at the plate for St. Ignatius. Buonocore went 3-for-5 and scored four times, and Goldstone knocked her in twice, going 4-for-4 with a walk and four RBIs.

“We’re a really aggressive team, so every strike we can take, you really want to go after it,” Goldstone said.

The Wildcats’ offense lit up the scoreboard by totaling 18 hits, scoring in five of seven innings. Normally St. Ignatius’ Santa Clara-bound senior Jordan Newell provides the bulk of the offense, but head coach Karen Cota recognizes how important a balanced offensive attack is.

“We’ve got to have everyone in our lineup be able to get up there and get a ball through so we can score runners,” Cota said.

The St. Ignatius bats broke out right away, with the first three batters reaching base and scoring against Irish starting pitcher Julia Gallegos.

But early on, every time the Wildcats would score the Irish responded. The teams battled in a tight game until the sixth inning put the Irish away.

Despite the production at the plate, both coaches noticed some sloppy play in the field. The teams combined for 10 errors on the day, with six coming from St. Ignatius.

“We had a little trouble in the field today, but we’ll fix that,” Murray said. “We’re the Fighting Irish, and that’s what we’ll do. We play [St. Ignatius] again on Tuesday and we’ll make the plays we need to make.”

Scoring Summary

First Inning
SI – Jordan Newell doubles, Helen Buse scores
SI – Tori Eng grounds out, Frankie Buonocore scores
SI – Emi Goldstone singles, Newell scores

Second Inning
SHC – Jessica Tse singles, Jennifer Otoshi scores
SHC – Anna Palter sacrifice fly, Natalie Viola scores

Third Inning
SI – Rachael Garrison reaches on error, Buonocore scores
SI – Elena Vierra singles, Eng scores
SI – Danielle Marty singles, Rachael Garrison scores

Fourth Inning
SI – Goldstone singles, Buse and Buonocore score
SHC – Julia Gallegos scores on throwing error
SHC – Raquell Gaffed singles, Palter scores

Sixth Inning
SI – Goldstone singles, Buonocore scores
SI – Garrison singles, Newell scores
SI – Tara Fallahee singles, Eng scores
SI – Buse doubles, Goldstone, Garrison, and Fallahee score
SHC – Gaffed solo home run

Seventh Inning
SI – Vierra sacrifice fly, Newell scores

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