Santa Clarita Christian and Trinity Classical Academy softball were tied 20-all in the bottom of the seventh inning on Monday at Trinity.
The Cardinals’ Cassidy Oliver struck out for the first out of the inning. Not the end of the world.
But what happened next was the end of the game.
“As soon as Cassidy got out and I saw her walk a little, I was like, it’s now or never,” said SCCS catcher Sydnee Skinner, who was on third base. “We’re going in.”
Skinner darted and lowered herself. She slid feet-first into home plate for the final run of the game as the catcher finally gained control of the ball. The run that won it for SCCS, 21-20.
“It was just lots of screaming,” Skinner said of SCCS, which served as the “home team” Monday. “We were just all so excited and, I mean, I was just shocked because I didn’t think that would work.”
The Knights (5-6 overall, 2-3 in Heritage League) had the edge halfway through the game, gaining a 16-2 lead before the bottom of the fourth inning thanks to four-, five- and seven-run innings.
In the ensuing inning, the Cards (7-6, 3-2) picked up speed, stringing together six hits to open the frame.
Then Austen Hermanson banged a grand slam out of the park.
“I prayed,” Hermanson said of the hit. “I was like, ‘Lord, please, please, please, please, please.’ And once I hit the ball, it was solid and fluid and natural.”
It was the moment the Cards needed.
“It really gave me hope,” Skinner said. “Because I remember I was super down around the fourth inning … And then Austen comes out here and she’s like, over the fence. It was beautiful.”
Trinity struggled to generate offense, and by the end of the sixth inning, the game was tied 18-18.
“(We were) just trying to show heart and show passion for the game and just keep on fighting,” said SCCS coach Ali Aguilar.
The Knights scored two runs in the seventh inning when Sarah Howell and Mary MacAdam were each walked with the bases loaded.
SCCS scored two quick runs in the final frame, then Skinner made her move for the win.
The two teams play again today for the last game of the regular season at Trinity at 4:15 p.m.
“It’s always a rivalry,” Aguilar said. “It’s a healthy rivalry between two Christian schools. So even before the game, we prayed about that.”