Wildcat softball tops-off weekend with nail biting victory


Chico State Sports Information

Chico State cheering on their team

In the last game of the Desert Stinger Tournament, the Chico State Softball team were able to hang on to their lead in extra innings with a 5-4 victory over Montana State University

Both teams relied heavily on their starting pitchers to keep them out of harm’s way. Senior pitcher Brooke Larson and MSU starting pitcher Alyssa Etheridge didn’t give up a single hit until the fifth inning. 

Senior outfielder Nina Revoir broke the no-hitter with a double to right-center to start off the inning. Larson set up for a sacrifice bunt, but due to a throwing error by the third baseman, Revoir was able to score and take a 1-0 lead in the fifth. 

MSU quickly answered back with a run of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Larson gave up her first hit with a double to center field. This was followed by a single right up the middle, which would put MSU on the scoreboard, tying the game 1-1. 

According to the NCAA regulations in extras, Rule 6.16.1; Starting with the top of the predetermined inning (it is recommended for use beginning in the 10th inning) and each half-inning to follow, the offensive team shall begin its turn at bat with the player scheduled to bat ninth in that half inning being placed on second base (for example, if the No. 5 batter is the lead-off batter, the No. 4 batter in the batting order will be placed on second base) A substitute may be inserted for the base runner.

After a throwing error and getting hit by a pitch, Chico State had bases loaded with Revoir at the plate. She was able to record a RBI-single to take the lead, 2-1, while the bases remained loaded. Larson was patient enough to earn a walk which also brought in a run. Stover hit a pop fly to add to the lead, making it 5-1.

MSU gained some momentum by driving in three runs going into the bottom of the eighth. Larson was able to lock in and get the Wildcats out of a jam with three strike-outs to end the game. She had 18 strikeouts, three earned runs and walked one batter.

Senior catcher Sara Mitrano loves how the team’s passion to win every game helps them get out of sticky situations.

“Our dugout did an amazing job by staying focused and having a lot of energy which is what we fed off of,” Mitrano said. “I honestly think our energy is what wins us games sometimes.”

Starting off the tournament against Central Washington University, Chico State was able to win in walk-off fashion. This game headed into extra innings after CWU had a four-run inning in the third, tying it 4-4. 

In the fifth inning CWU took a one-run lead but it was not enough to hold the Wildcats back. Coming up to bat with one out, freshman shortstop Rachael Bles managed a base hit to right field. They benefited from a throwing error and a walk, which loaded up the bases for Larsen. She came up big with a single up the middle to keep the team alive.

In the bottom of the eighth Mitrano put the ball in play. Unfortunately, Larsen was thrown out at home but Mitrano reached first base with two outs. Revoir had a clutch hit to move Mitrano to second. Freshman Taylor Berens pinch hit for freshman right fielder Hailey Seva, and she was able to drive in the winning run.

Heading into extra innings is nothing new for the Wildcats. Junior Grace Gallagher said they always find a way to fight their way back on top.

“We know how to scrape together, we practice a lot in high pressure situations,” Gallagher said. “Knowing how to stay calm, breathing through difficult situations where it might be difficult to score in those times.”

In game two of their double header they were able to put up 10 runs and shut out Regis University, which ended in six innings due to the eight-run rule. As a team they were able to collect 18 hits, six doubles and only struck out four times. Senior outfielder/pitcher Amanda Metzger went a perfect 4-4 at the plate and Seva had two doubles.

Senior second baseman Angel Lopez said the team goes all out every time they step on the field, and in return, the Wildcats get rewarded with the eight run rule victory.

“It’s great, we have to keep stepping on their throats, keep pushing every pitch, every at-bat just staying ready,” Lopez said.

Rule 6.14 in the NCAA handbook; A regulation eight-run-rule game shall be declared by the plate umpire if one team is ahead by eight or more runs after five or more equal innings. Complete innings must be played unless the home team reaches the eight-run lead while at bat in the last inning. Any hit that results in an eight-run lead by the home team (after 4½ innings) is treated as a game-ending hit. Whenever the visiting team reaches the limit in the fifth or any inning thereafter, the home team must have its opportunity to bat in the bottom half of the inning.

On Saturday they were scheduled to play another pair of games against Saint Martin and MSU Denver.

Chico State led the whole game against Saint Martin 4-0 up until the sixth inning when they scored two runs while Larson was pitching. She was able to stop the game from getting out of hand with a strikeout to finish the inning. Fortunately, those were the only runs allowed and the Wildcats won 4-2. 

In the final game of the day, their three-game win streak was put to an end by Metro State University, who won 8-3. Chico State started off strong by putting up two runs in the first inning but Metro State answered back with a pair of their own. It was a tight game as neither team was looking to give up the tie. In the fourth inning MSU took the lead by adding two more runs, followed by another three in the sixth. 

Even though they lost, the Wildcats got together as a team and discussed what went wrong.

“We acknowledged as a team that we weren’t playing like ourselves and we needed to play how we normally play, that was our motivation,” Gallagher said.

All in all, they took four out of five games over the weekend. The team had a total of 56 strikeouts by their pitching staff, a mercy rule victory that ended in six innings and two extra innings wins. 

Chico State Softball’s overall record is 8-2 as they head into their first conference game at Cal State Monterey Bay for a four-game series set on Feb 18 and 19. The first two games start at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., while games three and four start at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m on Saturday.

Johnny Maldonado can be reached at [email protected].