A three-run rally in the sixth inning put Wilson in a position to knock off the defending Moore League softball champions on Monday, but Millikan had some late-game magic of its own. The Rams scored a run in the seventh inning to tie it, then walked it off in the eighth inning on a game-winning single from Erica Estrada to take an exciting 4-3 victory.
The Rams were in control of the game through the first five innings as sophomore starting pitcher Ava Schaffel was carving up the Bruins hitters. Schaffel finished with 11 strikeouts in just 5.1 innings pitched, striking out the side in the fifth.
She’d been staked to an early 2-0 lead thanks to a solo home run from Ari Ramirez in the first inning, then a sac fly from Morgan Zimmerman to plate Cami Lara in the second.
The Rams’ offense collected 10 hits on the day, but stranded eight runners through the first six innings as Wilson starter Emily Castano was able to keep her team in striking distance.
And strike they did. Wilson brought the top of the order up in the sixth inning, getting a leadoff double from Kaden Marsee to start their rally. Two batters later, Leah Pettway’s second base hit of the day brought home Wilson’s first run while cutting the deficit in half.
Juliana Babore then doubled to put runners at second and third with just one out for Adriana Wiggins. The senior captain came through with a clutch knock, sending a single into left field to score both runners and put the Bruins on top, 3-2.
Victoria Byrum came in from the Millikan bullpen to escape the jam, and ended up earning the win in relief. Byrum threw the final 2.2 innings, striking out five while working around a single and three walks. Her two strikeouts with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning kept the score at 3-2 and allowed the Rams offense a better chance to extend the game.
Down to their last two outs, Ramirez again came through for the Rams, delivering her second extra-base hit of the day with a one-out double into deep center. She was immediately brought home to score the tying run on Katie Knarr’s RBI double in the very next at-bat.
Millikan was unable to plate the game-winning run in the seventh, but ended things in the eighth with a two-out rally. Robin Garcia got it started with a base hit back up the middle, followed by a ground-rule double from Madison “Shorty” Wright that went under the outfield fence, leaving runners at second and third for the leadoff hitter, Estrada. The speedy centerfielder slapped a ball off the first baseman’s glove for the game-winning hit, bringing Garcia home for the 4-3 Millikan win.
It was a frustrating loss for the Bruins who are so close to being first place in the Moore League, but instead sit with a pair of tough losses to Lakewood and now Millikan. It’s the third time this season the Bruins have lost a game after leading in the seventh, with two of those losses coming early on in league play.
The comeback win keeps the Rams atop the league standings with archrivals Lakewood. The Lancers have a key matchup with Poly on Tuesday before their big showdown against the Rams on Thursday night, 7 p.m. at Mayfair Park.