By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – A pitcher’s duel was ended by international tiebreaker rule Friday night in New Hope’s 1-0 eight-inning win at Saltillo in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 5A fastpitch quarterfinals.
New Hope starter D.J. Sanders struck out 10. Saltillo’s Hallie Frenn struck out eight, but the Lady Tigers (17-6) had only one of the game’s five hits.
“That’s two unbelievable performances by two great kids on the mound,” Saltillo coach Lee Buse said. “We battled. We’re going tomorrow to win two games. That’s our mentality.”
With two outs in the eighth, Lauren Holifield reached and courtesy runner Taylor Blevins scored on an infield single between Saltillo infielders.
Game 2 in the best-of-three is scheduled for tomorrow at 2 p.m. Game 3 would follow.
Sanders walked two to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth but got a groundout to end the game. Saltillo, its lone hit from Maggie Wiggington, failed to advance Meagan Sartin past second base as Sanders got a bunt popout from Lexi Brazeal to open the inning.
New Hope (24-3-1) had two hits through seven innings but with Anna McCrary at second via tiebreaker rule, Kaitlin Oswalt mover her over and after Erin Stanfield’s infield single, Makenzie Harvey was hit to load the bases.
“Extra innings is all about execution and we executed,” New Hope coach Tabitha Beard said.
Frenn got R.J. James to ground into a fielder’s choice, the out at home to Brooke Lindsey before Holifield’s RBI hit.
Wigginton and first baseman Madison Sartin both went for the ball on the play, leaving the bag open.
“I kind of wish that rule wasn’t existing but it is. (Sanders) pitched great,” Frenn said. “We’re gonna give everything we have and just see what happens.”
Sanders had two of New Hope’s hits, a double in the fourth.