Chaffee softball team slams door on Crusaders' comeback

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Chaffee’s Cierra Crites (24) is mobbed by teammates after hitting a grand slam during the Red Devils’ 14-9 win over the Crusaders on Tuesday at Saxony Lutheran High School. (ADAM VOGLER)

The Saxony Lutheran softball team played the role of a pesky fly Tuesday afternoon against visiting Chaffee.

Cierra Crites finally swatted it.

Crites broke up a one-run ballgame in the top of the seventh inning with a two-out grand slam, and Chaffee won 14-9.

The Crusaders (5-6) took its only lead in the first inning, got down 7-1 but rallied to within 9-8 entering the seventh.

Crites ended the comeback with one mighty swing.

A hit by Chaffee third baseman Julia Sutterfield gets over the head of Saxony Lutheran left fielder Abby Hadler. (ADAM VOGLER)

The sophomore blasted a home run well over the left field fence to seal the win.

"I was kind of worried because I wasn't hitting good in the beginning," Crites said. "I was doing it for Victoria [Blue], who got hurt."

"She's been hitting well for us all year," Chaffee coach Shawn Powderly said about Crites. "She's just a sophomore this year. [She] stepped up and had some big extra-base hits for us. That was a big spot right there. Our defense had let us down tremendously up to that point, but she came through in a big situation. She's not scared of anything. Whatever I ask her to do, she'll give it her best effort and whatever it takes. She's not scared of any situation or any pitcher or whoever's up there.

"She'd been struggling a little bit throughout the day, but she came up big, and we've kind of come to expect that from her. That's why she's hitting in the four hole."

The blast was the final blow for a Saxony squad that refused to fold.

The Crusaders made up for several big blunders in the field by getting on base and using their speed to advance.

"We had to come back, and we shouldn't have," Saxony coach Tali Beaudean said. "We should have been on top of this game when it started. This wasn't our ‘A' game, so it is a little disappointing. But the fact is that we didn't die. We didn't sit down and let ourselves get beat. But we had some mental mistakes on defense that kept them in the ballgame. We faltered right there."

Saxony took advantage of the first Red Devils error in the opening for a 1-0 lead.

Big hits, coupled with costly errors, allowed the Red Devils to plate seven runs in the third inning.

"We're not exactly the best defense team around, but we do swing it pretty well," said Powderly, whose squad improved to 4-4. "We can hit one through nine. We got anybody that can step up at any time and plug one in the gap, and watch us run. We kind of rely on that a little bit, so it's almost expected for us really. It's just a matter of where it's going to come from. For us, like I said, it can be anywhere from the leadoff to the nine, but we're going to always have that chance in the lineup."

Those chances came in bunches in the third.

Jessie Evans walked with one out to set the inning in motion. Adrienne Eichhorn followed with a single. A Saxony error allowed Kaitlyn Miller to reach base and scored the first Red Devils run to tie the score.

Julia Sutterfield's RBI single was followed by another Crusader error and an RBI walk for a 3-1 lead.

Another single and a walk scored two more runs, and Evans then belted a two-run double in her second plate appearance of the inning to make it 7-1.

Saxony got three runs back in the fourth on a Logan Welker triple, a single, a walk and a Red Devils error.

The teams traded runs in the fifth.

Chaffee added another run in the sixth inning for a 9-5 lead, but the Crusaders responded with three runs in the sixth to cut the lead to one. The inning could have been bigger but Saxony lost two base runners in the frame.

Sloane Johnson led off the sixth for Saxony with a single. Lauren Buerck then was hit by a pitch before Sutterfield blooped a ball into center, but Johnson was forced out at third after a late break after making sure the ball dropped. A single and an error on the play, plated one run, but a second potential run was cut down at the plate. A single and an error scored two more runs with two outs.

"They did make big plays," Beaudean said. "Especially on our runners when we were trying to stretch an extra base. They made the plays that had to be done. and they stepped up at that point."

Added Powerdly, "That's stuff we work on every day in practice. There's not a practice that goes by that we don't work on balls in the gap and relay throws and things like that, and communicating so we know where we're going with it. We're usually doing the right thing. It's just a matter of execution for us."

The timely plays on defense set the stage for Crites in the seventh.

Molly Parker led off with a walk and scored on a double by Evans.

Back-to-back singles and a fielder's choice loaded the bases.

Crites then delivered with the hit of the game.

Chaffee 14, Saxony 9


WP -- Kaitlin McFerron. LP -- Kelli Brunke. HR -- Cierra Crites (C). 3B -- Julia Sutterfield (C), Logan Welker (S). 2B -- McFerron (C), Jessie Evans 2 (C), Grace Mirly (S). Multiple Hits: Chaffe, Adrienne Eichhorn 2-5, Kaitlyn Miller 2-4, Sutterfield 2-5, Crites 2-5, McFerron 2-3, Evans 2-3. Saxony, Ashlynn Collier 3-5, Mirly 3-4. Records: Chaffee – 4-4, Saxony 5-6.

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