White Rock, Espaola tie series 1-1

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By Gabriel Vasquez

White Rock Junior All-Stars 12, Espaola Valley Junior All-Stars, 9(Game 1)

Good hitting and star pitcher Monika Teter iced the win for the White Rock Junior All-Stars Saturday, despite a commendable fifth inning comeback by Espaola Valley.

White Rock came out swinging, almost cycling through its entire batting line-up in just the first inning.

The streak began with a textbook bunt by Aimee Gutierrez, and opened the doors for a 2 run double by Rachel Anaya and a run-scoring single to give White Rock an early 3-0 lead.

Teter, White Rock's All-Star pitcher, stepped on the mound with confidence.

More importantly, she stepped up packing a powerful fastball that froze several Espaola Valley batters, who didn't so much as graze the ball until late in the second inning.

Consistent hitting and unmatchable pitching put White Rock up 5-0 by the end of the fourth inning, but poor defense and a pitching change had players scrambling to figure out how to stop Espaola Valley in the bottom of the fifth.

Espaola's commanding rally in the fifth inning put the team up 7-5, leaving White Rock wondering how they let their lead slip in a game that looked to be in the bag.

An infield single by Espaola that was mishandled by a sluggish White Rock defense opened the floodgates for Espaola six coming runs.

An outfield double RBI single by Espaola Valley and a bullet to the outfield that almost cleared the fence kept the bases loaded and the runners scampering home.

After a much-needed pep talk from manager Jim Zerr, White Rock's offense stepped up its intensity, covering a wide variety of real estate with a mix of good hitting. Three consecutive singles by Lynne Cash, Dominique Sandoval and Rachel Anaya helped put runs on the board to reclaim the Rock's lead, 9-7.

But Espaola was far from giving up, who went on to bring in two runs in the bottom of the sixth, due mostly to White Rock's sloppy pitching.

With the bases loaded, Espaola’s seized a double-RBI opportunity to bring two runners home, tying the game at 9-9.

Strategy and exceptional hitting led White Rock to victory, as well as a monster double by Cash that cleared the bases, bringing in three runs to seal the game, 12-9.

Not wanting to take any chances, White rock put Teter back on the mound for the seventh inning stretch.

She made short work of Espaola's lineup, striking out three consecutive batters to secure the win.

Espaola Valley Junior All-Stars 10, White Rock Junior-All Stars 2 (Game 2)

A reversal of the Saturday’s earlier events came in game 2, as White Rock found itself trying to catch up to the offensive powerhouse of a motivated Espaola team.

The loss to White Rock earlier in the day seemed to be fresh on Espaola’s memory, who dominated the first four innings.

The absence of White Rock’s star pitcher at the mound, and a visibly tired line-up resulted in only two runs for the squad, which seemed unaware that witch each Espaola run the game was slipping away.

An errant pitch by Espaola’s pitcher hit Gutierrez and put her on base and she advanced to scoring position as a result of a series of bad pitches. Sandoval was walked, giving White Rock the opportunity to add to their score, only to continue their woes at the plate on a full-count strikeout.

The opportunities for White Rock to catch up kept coming,

In the bottom of the sixth, a defensive error cost White Rock an easy opportunity at a double play, which eventually resulted in the scoring of two more runs.

The last chance for White Rock came at the top of the seventh, when Teter slugged a fastball just short of home-run territory, and ended up as a fly out to eventually grant Espaola a 10-2 win.

The last game of the best-of-three series will be played at 1 p.m. today at Overlook Park.