With so much of the season left to play, this is the most sensible time to make a bold call.
Todd Beamer High School softball coach Brian Hering told Alex Haven to tag up from third base with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning Wednesday against Tahoma. She was the potential tying run but didn’t make it halfway to home plate before Bears center fielder Dominique Titus darted a throw to catcher Kinzi Sanders.
Haven was eventually tagged out in a rundown between third base and home to end the game as Tahoma won, 4-3, for its ninth consecutive victory to start the season
It was Beamer’s first loss as the Bears took sole possession of first place in the 4A South Puget Sound League North.
But that’s why you try those things now.
“I just didn’t realize it was going to land that short,” Hering said of Maddie Rogers’ fly ball with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the seventh. “I just wish (Haven) had continued because you never know what is going to happen if you just continue. When she stopped, she was done.
“But I’m going to take that chance every time. We got to work at it and the girls had fun, it was a good game and we put ourselves in a position to win. What more could you want?”
And neither of these teams have enjoyed many close calls like they did Wednesday, barreling their way to the top of the 4A SPSL North.
It made Carley Nance’s afternoon that much more special. She was dialed in the entire game, striking out eight for Tahoma (9-0, 7-0 4A SPSL North) and she hit the go-ahead two-run home run — her second of the season — over the tall fence in left-center field at Todd Beamer in the top of the fifth inning.
Beamer fell to 7-1, 6-1.
Nance drove in three of the Bears’ four runs.
“That’s kind of Carley,” Tahoma coach Tom Milligan said.
And she escaped the jam in the bottom of the seventh inning despite facing Beamer’s No. 3 (Jourdan Hering) and 4 hitters (Rogers) with one out and runners in scoring position.
“Talk about needing (a defibrillator),” Milligan said.
“It just looked like it was going to be a quick ballgame,” Auburn Mountainview coach Glen Walker said. “They scored early and it looked like that was the way it was going to end, because we couldn’t get anything going.”
Sumner (8-2 overall, 4-1 3A SPSL) led early with a run in the first after Collin Wolf reached on a leadoff walk. From there, neither team produced offensively — at one point, Sumner retired 11 batters in a row — until Auburn Mountainview (7-1, 5-0) scored two in the top of the sixth.
The Lions loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh for pitcher Jared Gray.
“I thought I was going up there to hit,” Gray said. “But Coach said, ‘Do you want to put down a squeeze bunt?’ I said, ‘Whatever you call, Coach.’ ”
Gray tapped a dribbler down the third-base line to score Mason Cerrillo and Ikaika Nahaku. Two more runs scored on sacrifices to break open a 6-1 lead.
“We weren’t able to execute the outs that they were giving us,” Sumner coach Casey Adcox said.
Sumner got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh, but stranded three runners on a disputed called third strike to end the game. Gray carried a one-hitter into the seventh for the Lions, and struck out five to earn his fifth win of the season.
Auburn Mountainview hosts Sumner in a rematch Friday at 7 p.m.
Peninsula (8-0-0; 6-0-0 3A SPSL) played the last 20 minutes of the game with 10 men and broke the tie with Auburn Riverside (5-2-1; 5-1-0) when a long kick from goalkeeper Ethan Martin found Christian Lewis down the middle of the field. Lewis touched the ball to Haubrich who finished it inside the right post for the game winner.