Eagle Pass Lady Eagles come from behind and beat Southwest San Antonio 10-9
By MARK and BECKY OCHS
News Gram Sportswriters
Melanie Mendoza smashed a 250-foot grand-slam homer, knotting the score at 5 in the fourth inning and paving the way for the triumphant Lady Eagles to come from behind at the end of the game, pleasing their cheering crowd of adoring fans by winning 10-9 over the San Antonio Southwest High School Lady Dragons on Tuesday.night, February 18, at the Student Activity Center softball stadium.
Sitting in the stands and cheering from behind home plate, Melanie’s Nana, Sandra Moreno, said proudly: ”That’s my granddaughter! She is so great, and her sister Sandra is too. They are such awesome girls. Melanie is a sophomore and Sandra is a senior. They always come through when the going gets tough and the chips are down. That’s when they shine — when you really need them.”
This Eagles softball team never gives up. Trailing by a score of 9-7 to the Dragons in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, the Eagles staged a furious three-run rally and won the game 10-9 on a bases-loaded walk issued to Crystal Perez that clinched the glorious, scintillating, come-from-behind, season-opening, walk-off win.
The mastermind of all this — the beaming Eagles Head Coach Oscar Ruiz — was thrilled by the amazing, against-all-odds victory. “This team just doesn’t quit,” he said proudly, smiling contentedly while savoring the magic of the moment. “We play a complete seven innings, and we win, no matter what. All of us hate to lose. No matter what happens, we just keep on fighting until we win.”
Superstar winning pitcher Krystal “Kat” De La Cruz (1-0) just kept on firing rising heaters throughout the night, mixed in with her magical, sinking sliders. The stylish, fire-balling, left-handed Kat was absolutely fabulous, She showed yet again why the big-time college scouts from Texas and Oklahoma are drooling over the prospect of recruiting her to pitch for them.
Kat is a gem of a softball player — a tall, silky-smooth, reliable ace who also is a quiet, calm, determined team leader. Kat simply refuses to fold, hanging in there until she finally notches the win.
It was a great team victory for the quietly celebrating Eagles. Catcher Claudia “C.C.” Cruz, and every outfielder and infielder all played crucial roles in the amazingly miraculous outcome of this Game For The Ages.
The willowy, confident Kat De La Cruz appeared every bit the spitting image of her look-alike role model — Cat Osterman, the University of Texas Longhorns’ World Series ace and 2004 U.S. Olympic gold medalist.
“They played great,” the cool Kat said of her hard-charging Eagles teammates after the intensely fought, neck-and-neck contest was over at last. “They always had my back. They played as a team, right down to the happy ending.”
Crystal Perez, the steady left fielder who drove in the winning run by drawing a free pass, was exhilarated by the Eagles walk-off heroics. “We were patient and we took the game, one hit at a time,” she said, smiling with relief at the favorable outcome. “This is the perfect way to start the season,” she added. “We want to do great things and go really far.”
Another pair of sisters also played crucial parts in sparking the Eagles’ win. Rangy centerfielder Monica Flores expertly patrolled the outfield, displaying her senior leadership while also swatting an RBI double in the first inning. Monica’s sister, Nina Flores, a budding sophomore star, anchored the hot corner at third base.
Right fielder Vivian Ramirez ripped an RBI double in the fourth.
Things looked grim for the home team at the opening of the seventh and final inning. The Eagles were down 9-7, but Daniela Velasquez led off the inning with a walk. Kat followed with another walk.
Melanie Mendoza slammed an RBI double off the right-centerfield fence, trimming the Dragons’ lead to 9-8. She went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice, tying the score at 9 and eliciting roars from the frenzied throng of Eagles fanatics. Sandra Mendoza also walked, loading the bases with two out.
The tense, awestruck, boisterous Eagles fans held their breath, crossed their fingers, made the Sign of the Cross and sat on the edge of their seats as the dangerous Crystal Perez came to the plate with the game on the line.
Perez’s patience ultimately paid off as she walked on five pitches, setting off thunderous applause and shouts of triumph from the enraptured, victorious onlookers, reveling in the rarefied air of their bodacious success.
Those Eagles fans will never forget THIS victory, which just very well might portend the promising potential of very big things to come in this spring softball season of 2014.
Last modified on Thursday, 20 February 2014 14:42