The Renton Redhawk fast pitch team fell just shy of its season-high of runs scored this year, losing to Evergreen 25-20 in eight innings at Liberty Park on April 3.
“It’s definitely hard to not get super upset at the score. But at the end of the day we have to just trust that our teammates will go up to bat and give 100 percent to the team,” said center fielder Madison Hull.
After achieving its first win in a year in the season opener against Foster, 23-13, Renton has hit a rough patch going winless over its last five games. That streak continues after this game, though not from lack of effort.
“I’m super proud, it’s been a tough year. We’ve gone downward a little bit since our first game. But this game right here showed that we got some resilience and can come back against anybody,” said Head Coach Dan Villalobos.
The Redhawks went into extra innings against the Wolverines on Monday which at one point seemed impossible.
“I’m grateful I have this group of girls … We needed some of that grit from backup players and got it,” Villalobos said.
Renton got off to a tough start. Before the athletes could even pick up the bats, the team trailed 9-0 giving up all of those runs with one out in the inning. In the second inning, Evergreen added one more jumping out to a 10-0 lead.
“That first inning killed us. If we take away that first inning it’s a whole different ball game,” Villalobos said.
Renton responded with runs in the half of the second. Margarette Tumbaga started the inning with a single which was followed by a Lidya Kedanemariam single as well. Both runners advanced on wild pitches to second and third. By some magic, according to GameChanger, the runs came home via both of the players stealing home. But, it was much different than that.
Both runners scored on a foul ball, which is a sentence that doesn’t make sense. The runs scored after the ball was thrown back to the pitcher, but the pitcher didn’t catch the ball. So, both runners scored on the overthrow even though the ball was never put in play.
There was little complaint from the Evergreen coaches. Renton then scored three more runs in the frame on back-to-back singles from Giselle Hernandez-Cruz and Hannah Fontanos-Heasley. After the second inning, Renton trailed 10-5.
Evergreen then scored two in the third and the Redhawks cut the lead to four in their half of the third thanks to an RBI groundout from Teagan Pollard and a two-run triple by Hull getting Renton within four, 12-8.
In the Wolverine fourth and fifth innings, the team totaled eight runs and took a 20-9 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
“The sucky part is a lot of errors are self-inflicted, it’s not something the other teams are doing that’s making them score but it’s stuff that we are doing. But full credit to Evergreen they had a really good team,” Villalobos said.
Renton was three outs away from the game ending via the mercy rule. The inning started with Hull striking out, but the ball was dropped so she was able to score thanks to two throwing errors by the Wolverines. After the next batter struck out, the next eight Renton batters reached base and the Redhawks were able to put up eight runs and cut the Evergreen lead to 20-17.
In practice Renton takes batting practice against a pitching machine, high velocity is something Coach Villalobos worked on and it helped them today against a good pitcher from Evergreen. “I told them we face a pitching machine that throws harder than any pitcher that we’ll face, we can do this,” he said.
That wasn’t the end for the Redhawks either. In the sixth inning with runners on second and third Sophina Zebley scored both runners on a groundout to the second baseman. With a little luck and advantageous base running Renton inched ever closer to the Wolverines going into the last inning they trailed by one, 20-19.
Renton got that final run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Once again Madison Hull was in the middle of things with a one-out triple. Fontanos-Heasley scored Hull with an infield single tying the ballgame 20-20. Renton couldn’t score Fontanos-Heasley so the game headed to extra innings.
“Personally, I wanted to tie the game because we worked so hard every day. We go into games thinking we’ll do poorly, but when we have a chance we come through, we do,” Hull said.
The Wolverines got back on the scoreboard in extra innings. Evergreen loaded the bases with none out and scored five runs before recording an out, killing the Renton momentum. In the Renton half, they had a runner reach base and Zebley would be left out there.
Renton plays against Kent-Meridian in a non-league game before picking back up league play against Foster Monday, April 17.
“I’m grateful we get to play every team twice … Next time, better believe we are going to bring the heat,” said Villalobos.