By Dante Quazzo
The Bay Counties League West championship featured a roller-coaster of emotions on Friday afternoon at Treasure Island.
After surrendering the lead in the top of the seventh inning, University rallied back to win 8-7 in walk-off fashion against Marin Academy.
For University sophomore Emily Pham, the bottom of the seventh offered a chance at redemption.
After pitching well in relief of teammate Caroline Grassi, Pham began to falter in the later innings. With University (17-3) up 7-5 in the top of the seventh, Marin Academy (11-5) battled back to tie the game.
Pham was not fazed, however, and led off the bottom of the inning with a single. After a walk and a steal moved her to third, Pham raced home to score the winning run on a wild pitch. Pham finished 3-for-3 with a walk, a RBI and two runs scored.
“It meant a lot,” Pham said of scoring the winning run. “It was really exciting to be able to score for the team. I gave up a few runs, so it was nice to make that up.”
The BCL West championship caps the first winning season for the Red Devils in recent memory.
“It’s nice to win a tight championship game,” said University head coach Jessica Skylar. “They came out and they played like a team from the beginning, and they really wanted it.”
While University came out on top, the game was fiercely competitive, with six lead changes in the game. Each team seemed to answer when pressed.
“We put our hearts in it. We have no regrets, we played our best and that’s all that we could do,” said Marin Academy head coach Hilary Gruendle. “I’m more proud of them than I could ever put into words. We put in effort every inning, the whole way through.”
Marin Academy struck first by taking advantage of University starting pitcher Caroline Grassi. Grassi issued five walks in the inning, and the Wildcats converted them into two runs.
The Red Devils were able to respond in the bottom of the first with one run, and were able to jump out in front in the third. Marin Academy’s Courtney Jacobsen came up with a two-run single in the top of the fifth to put the Wildcats back in front, but University rallied for four runs in the bottom half, highlighted by a Devyn Hocevar-Smith two-run double.
Marin Academy clawed back in the sixth and seventh, where singles by Jane Cavagnero, Betsy Dimas, and Sophia Dauria knotted the score before University’s walk-off.
MA – Sophia Dauria scores on wild pitch
MA – Betsy Dimas walks, Ellie Cope scores
U – Marie Valdez scores on illegal pitch
U – Amy Huie scores on wild pitch
U – Sam Hernandez grounds out, Valdez scores
MA – Courtney Jacobsen singles, Cope and Lauren Hansen score
U – Emily Pham singles, Hernandez scores
U – Devyn Hocevar-Smith doubles, Pham and Erin Reid score
U – Caroline Grassi reaches on bunt single, Hocevar-Smith scores
MA – Hansen singles, Dauria scores on error
MA – Jasmine Hulett reaches on error, Jane Cavagnero scores
MA – Dauria singles, Dimas scores
U – Pham scores on wild pitch
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