STOCKTON — Three outs was all the Union Mine High softball team needed to beat Ceres in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff game at Arnaiz Softball Complex on Wednesday.
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The Diamondbacks, the Sierra Valley Conference champions who grabbed the conference’s No. 1 seed, lead 5-4 in the top of the seventh inning over the Bulldogs, No. 2 seed from the Western Athletic Conference. But Ceres sank its teeth into its bats in the seventh inning to eliminate Union Mine, 9-6.
Ceres banged out five of its 12 hits in the game in its final at-bat; all singles from Nicole Bates, Sabrina Baisdon, MacKenzie Veuve and Kaytlin Donaldson, plus a double from Megan McCormick.
“Inexperienced,” Union Mine head coach Rob Diggle said. “But you’ve got to admire this team’s ability and their resiliency; they just kept coming back, even in the last inning.”
The D’backs’ Carley Stevens doubled to left field to start the come-from-behind rally and scored on Madelynn Heape’s single. But Ceres hung on for the win.
Heape, a freshman, was 3-for-4 and two RBIs.
“Madelynn had a great game,” said Diggle of Heape.
Heape, who plays second base, pulled off a double play in the top of the fifth. She caught a fly ball, then threw it to Stevens, who was playing first base, to nail Baisdon, who singled earlier in the frame.
Union Mine (16-8) took what appeared to be the 5-4 lead over Ceres (19-11) in the bottom of the fifth inning. Behind 4-3, Laura Dager singles to center field. Then with two outs, Miah Linson singled to drive in Dager. Aimer (2-for-3, RBI, run) singled that drove home Linson.
Ceres scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Stevens (3-for-4, 2 runs) singled in the bottom of the fourth inning and scored on Heape’s single to make it 4-3.
In the bottom of the third inning, the D’backs took a 2-1 lead when Phillis doubled and scored on Dager’s (2-for-3, RBI, run) single.
Union Mine tied the game at 1-all in the bottom of the first when leadoff hitter Calista Aimer walked and scored on Sarah Phillis’ double. Ceres’ bats were idle after the firs inning until the fourth.
Phillis (2-for-3, RBI, run scored) doubled in what would be her last hit of a brilliant four-year prep career. Phillis will be attending Colorado Mesa University on a scholarship and will be playing softball for the Mavericks.