BROOMFIELD — You hear coaches all the time say that if you put the ball in play, good things will happen.
Never has that been more prophetic than on Wednesday afternoon at Holy Family.
The defending state champion Tigers were down 3-2 and down to their last three outs in the seventh inning against a very good Mead team and their freshman hurler Joslynn Veltien.
Just put the ball in play.
Anna Martinez led off the seventh with a double — the first extra base hit of the game for the Tigers. After Carly Eldredge struck out, it brought Tyler Whitlock to the plate. And on a 1-2 pitch the junior lifted a ball to the outfield that should have moved Martinez to third after the throw came in to the cut-off. But in an attempt to catch Martinez napping at third, the ball got away down the left field line and Martinez came in to score the tying run.
All the while, Whitlock never stopped running and came all the way around to score the winning run in bizarre fashion.
“It’s really huge for these kids. I tell you what, they come , they do the work and they take care of business and they just do what they do,” said coach Mitch Martinez after his team was pushed to the brink in their Tri-Valley League opener. “It’s kind of our philosophy.”
On the final play of the game, Coach Martinez was at first and never stopped waving Whitlock home (obviously she couldn’t see him) and so too was third base coach Moriah Nguyen, who had the play in front of her too.
“It was moving really, really slow,” said Martinez, of the slow-motion aspect of the final moments. “Just keep pressure on and keep doing that every inning, it’s a huge difference.”
The Tigers fell behind early. The bottom half of the Mead line-up struck for three runs against Cassidy Chvatal in the second inning with run scoring hits coming from Emily Sauvegeau (eight hole hitter) and Maddox Boston (nine hole) that had the Holy Family faithful chewing their nails.
Holy Family would get two back in the bottom of the third inning. Whitlock’s ground out to second scored Anna Martinez and Ava Kuszak drove in Eldredge.
“We are replacing those four seniors and you could see, last year they were the ones in charge and it was strong,” said coach Martinez, who in all his days of coaching had never seen a game end like that. “This year, we are finding who we are and today was one of those day when we played great defense and Cassidy threw a great game and we didn’t have our best game offensively, but we found a way in the end.
“That’s huge for this team.”
Chvatal, despite traffic in every inning, pitched a fantastic game and finished with 12 strikeouts and did a great job of allowing her defense to make the plays behind her.
The Tigers are off to a good start at 3-0 and will wrap up the week on Friday against Thomas Jefferson before a week three test at home against Valor Christian.
“We knew coming in that today was going to be a good game and with our league every game is a battle,” Martinez said. “This prepares us.”
HOLY FAMILY 4, MEAD 3
At Holy Family
Mead (1-1, 0-1) 030 000 0 — 3 7 4
Holy Family (3-0, 1-0) 002 000 2 — 4 10 0
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-bi) — Martinez 4-2-2-0, Eldredge 4-1-2-0, Whitlock 4-1-2-2, Kuszak 3-0-1-1, Edwards 3-0-0-0, Deau 0-0-0-0, Gardon 3-0-0-0, Pfenning 3-0-1-0, Chvatal 3-0-1-0, Giron 0-0-0-0, Manzanares 3-0-1-0. Totals 30-4-10-3. 2B — Martinez.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Chvatal 7-7-3-3-2-12.