It seemed like Alpine had game two of the regional semifinal playoff series holding a 8-3 lead after five innings.
As the top of the sixth inning game, seven runs by Brock were crucial, giving the Lady Eagles a 12-10 victory to sweep the Lady Bucks and advance to the regional final next weekend against district rival Peaster.
“These kids believe that we can score like that at any time,” Brock softball coach Ryan Starnes said. “We were doing a lot of good things, we were out-hitting them. They [Alpine] were taking advantage of the strike zone early.”
“That inning killed us,” Alpine softball coach Joel Pardo said. “I had to stay with my starting pitcher. She’s been carrying us the whole season. The ball didn’t roll her way that inning.”
Alpine needed a win to force a deciding game and in the early stages, it looked like it was exactly what the Lady Bucks were going to do, plating three runs in their first inning frame courtesy of a Keyshla Vargas line drive three run homer to left field, seeing the Lady Bucks with a 3-2 lead after an inning of action.
The Lady Eagles then found a way to tie the game with a Anarenee Beyer RBI single to left field, scoring Bailey Ray in the top of the second inning. Alpine recaptured the lead after an error from the shortstop, Sydney Snow and scored Camryn Hardin. Two more Lady Buck runs would come home after a RBI singles from Vargas and Maggie Hernandez respectively.
The feeling of a game three would be immenent in the bottom third with two runs coming in for Alpine after a Hardin RBI single on a line drive to center field that scored Vanessa Gooch and Toni Huelsberg and extending the Alpine lead to 8-3.
Brock responded with a pair of runs of their own. Gillreath recorded a two-run RBI line drive single to center field that scored Snow and Jenna Lindberg.
In what was a back-and-forth tussle, Alpine plated on what would be insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth.
A Hard two-run homer to center field extended the Lady Buck lead to 10-5. Brock pitcher Mattye Tyler would move to third base as Sydney Snow received the nod to pitch in the circle and close the game.
Since the pitching change, Brock was a new team.
“I told them what we talk about all the time, we can put up runs.” Starnes said. “We have two at bats left. There are a lot you can do with six outs and they believed that and showed it.”
With Snow limiting the damage that would be two runs in the bottom of the fifth, the Lady Eagle lineup clicked.
After a fly out from Tyler and Lauren Lightfoot lineout to shortstop, Snow recorded a double in a crucial hit in attempt to stay alive in game two.
Bailey Wagner followed up with a double of her own, scoring Snow.
Gillreath recorded a single, placing runners at the corners. Ray recorded a RBI single, bringing in Wagner, and cutting the Lady Buck lead to 10-7.
Alpine pitcher Keyshla Vargas struggled with the next two at-bats, walking Landry Felts and Beyer.
Jessica Leek recorded a two run RBI double that tied the game at 10 and bringing the Lady Eagles back into the game.
In a pitching struggle in the fifth inning, Tyler took out her frustration in her respective at bat, hitting a two run RBI grounder to center field that scored pinch runner Kizer and Leek, and allowing Brock to take the lead for the first time since the top of the first inning and picking up the game two victory against a tough Alpine squad.
“I was really just thinking to spin the ball as hard as I could make them hit the ball under the ground and trust my defense,” Brock third baseman Snow said. “When we go to hit, we drill straight to the ball and that’s all we think of.”
“Sydney deserves a lot of credit,” Starnes said. “She hasn’t pitched for us in weeks. We continue to tell her that you got to prepare youself mentally for that moment. Credit to her, she never hesitated.”
The Lady Eagles were led by Tyler, who recorded three RBIs at batted three-for-five in her respective plate appeaerances. Tyler also pitched four and one third innings, allowing 10 runs on seven hits, striking out five and walking two.
Beyer, Leek and Gilreath finished with two RBIs apiece while Lightfoot, Wanger and Ray each finishing with a RBI.
For Alpine, Hardin and Vargas finished with four RBIs respectively and recording three hits in their offensive showing. Vargas pitched a complete game, allowing 12 runs on 16 hits, striking out one and walking six.
Brock face Peaster, who they have swept during the regular season, in the regional final with a time and place to be determined.