Becca Carter and Kendra Pastrick didn’t go to the plate in the bottom of the seventh thinking about hitting home runs, but they’ll take the results nonetheless.
Carter’s two-run shot tied the game, and another two-run, walk-off homer by Pastrick gave Columbus East a dramatic, come-from-behind 5-3 win against Edinburgh in Tuesday’s season opener.
“I got tired of running to first after all the foul balls, so I just made sure I made good contact on it,” said Carter, a freshman catcher.
Carter’s homer to left followed a leadoff double by Kamryn Cantu. With one out, Maddy Foster, singled, bringing up Pastrick.
Pastrick, a junior third baseman, drove one over the fence in right-center.
“I knew that I had to make good contact to get her around,” Pastrick said. “I wasn’t really looking for anything big. I was just looking to move her and get on base. Maddy Foster is fast. She has quick feet, so I knew as long as I made good contact, she was home.”
The Lancers jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings. Bailey Woodall led off the first with a single, went to second when Maddy Clark reached on a sacrifice, took third on an error and scored on a wild pitch.
After Sidney Beier walked and Vanessa McManaway sacrificed Woodall and Beier to second and third, East pitcher Brooke Valles came up with a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat.
“The impressive thing in my opinion was, we started the first inning a little bit shaky and only gave up one run to a pretty good ballclub,” East coach Rusty Brummett said. “We could have let that first inning get away from us, and we didn’t. We gave up one run, and left them stranded at second and third. That’s huge.”
The Lancers did add two runs in the second, though. Breiana Burton drew a one-out walk, and Bri Howard was hit by a pitch. Woodall then smacked a two-run double to right-center to make it 3-0.
That was the last hit the Lancers would muster.
“They went a little flat in the box,” Edinburgh coach Stephen Clark said. “We made some adjustments and made some contact on some stuff. They were disciplined, but there were first-game jitters for some of them.”
The Olympians got on the board with a run on four hits against Maddy Clark in the fourth. Kaitlin Wagner led off with a double and scored on a single by Valles, who was thrown out at second. Jordan Johnston followed with a single, and with one out, Cantu singled and Carter reached on an error to load the bases. But Maddy Clark came up with a strikeout to end the threat.
That’s the way the game stayed until the bottom of the seventh.
“As a whole, I just think that we kind of lost our energy and kind of went flat,” Stephen Clark said. “They carried momentum, and we didn’t, and that’s what happens.”
Cantu finished 3 for 3 with a double, and Foster went 2 for 4 to lead East’s 10-hit attack. Johnston struck out six in 3 2/3 hitless innings of relief to pick up the win.
Woodall had both Lancer hits, going 2 for 4 with a double and two RBIs.
“They’re going to be a force,” Brummett said. “They have good pitching and good hitting. They’re a quality program. They will make some noise in their class (Class A).”
The Olympians, meanwhile, are off to a strong start after winning only three games last season. They lost 17 of their last 18 following a 2-1 start.
Tuesday, East started five freshman and played a sixth freshman.
“I knew even in conditioning before we started actually practicing that we were going to have a better team this year,” Pastrick said. “We just have better well-rounded players and more experience. Our heads are higher, and I think we’re going to get a lot more wins than we did last year.”
“I feel real good about the start, but we have 27 more we have to play,” Brummett said.