LAMPASAS — At the last moment, Cassie Crabtree second-guessed her decision.
Tied 5-5 with Fredericksburg in the bottom of the eighth inning, Lampasas shortstop Alyssa Maldonado sent a pitch deep to centerfield, causing teammate Blakeli Brookerson to begin a mad dash from second base.
As the outfielder headed toward third base, the Lady Badgers second-year head coach was frantically waving her to home plate, until she saw the Lady Billies center fielder throw the ball.
“I was like, ‘Holy cow!,’” Crabtree recalled. “I didn’t think she could do that. She threw it from the fence all the way to home plate. I saw it coming
in, so I held her back, but the ball got away, and I started shouting, ‘Go! Go! Go!’”
Brookerson eventually safely crossed home for the game-winning run, giving No. 5 Lampasas a 6-5 extra-inning victory Friday night, extending their current winning streak to 11 games following a season-opening loss to West.
Watching from the dugout, Lady Badgers third baseman Marisa Maldonado never doubted Brookerson would beat the throw.
“As soon as she hit it, I knew we were going to score because Blakeli is the fastest girl I know,” the junior said. “I knew we were going to win right then, but Coach got scared for a second.”
The Maldonado sisters were correct in most things they did against Fredericksburg.
After playing to a 0-0 tie through the first 2½ innings, Marisa Maldonado connected on a three-run homer to give the Lady Badgers their first lead.
Instantly, she knew it would be the first homerun of her career.
“I just felt it in my hands,” she said of the moments prior to facing an 0-2 pitch. “Then it came, and I did it. As soon as I hit it, I just started walking to first base because I knew it.”
However the lead did not hold.
Fredericksburg tied the game with a two-run double in the top of the fifth inning.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Alyssa Maldonado produced a two-run double of her own, scoring Megan Sittner and Brookerson, who reached base on a single and a walk, respectively.
The Lady Billies quickly closed the gap, scoring twice in the top of the seventh before Lampasas (11-1) finally clinched the victory.
With several underclassmen on the roster, Crabtree was pleased to see her team battle through adversity after having only one previous game determined by two or fewer runs.
“They got put in a pressure situation,” she said.
“They got to compete, and they stayed together as a team. … With being so young, they could have easily caved, and they didn’t.”
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org