Walk-off squeeze pushes San Mateo past Sierra, 6-5, in nine innings

Walk-off squeeze pushes San Mateo past Sierra, 6-5, in nine innings

WALNUT, CA — The defending 3C2A State Softball Champion San Mateo Bulldogs staved off elimination with a dramatic walk-off suicide squeeze in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Sierra College Wolverines 6-5, Friday at Mt. SAC.

San Mateo (39-8) lives another day in the eight-team double-elimination state tournament and will play Cypress, in an elimination game tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Mt. SAC. Sierra ends its season with a 43-5 record.

The game was a rematch of last year's championship round when San Mateo defeated Sierra to claim the state title. 

In the bottom half of the exciting final inning, San Mateo's Vanessa Lang hit a one-out single up the middle and advanced to third on a single from left fielder Lafulafu Malepeai. Malepeai, who was four for five in the game with two runs, advanced to second on the throw during the play.

Centerfielder Mariah Norris stepped up next and laid down a perfect bunt, as Lang came sprinting home just beating the throw for the win. Norris finished the game three for three with a walk, run, and the game-winning RBI.

Lang who's been showcasing her defensive talent at second base throughout the tournament, had another spectacular game in the field. She snagged three hard line drives in the game including a diving effort in the top of the eighth to end the inning.

Both teams used three pitchers, with the second San Mateo reliever, Siona Halwani (13-5), getting the win after pitching the final four innings. 

Sierra opened the scoring in the third inning on a triple by shortstop Eliana Enriquez that scored Kayley Vaillette, who got on base on an infield error. Enriquez scored the second run on a fielder's choice to the pitcher.

San Mateo answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning, with a bases-clearing double by designated player Megan Barstad to take a 3-2 lead.

Sierra tied the game, 3-3, with a solo home run by Maddy Redinger in the fifth. But San Mateo came right back with an answer in the bottom of the inning with RBIs by Luda Gumataotao and Gabrielle Perez.

Sierra answered in the sixth inning when Vaillette tripled in Kristyn Dodd. Two batters later Haleigh Barlow tied the game when she brought in Vaillette on an infield ground out.


John M. Sherrard (3C2A)

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