By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
The West Ranch Wildcats (5-1) stunned the Buena Bulldogs (1-2) after trailing 8-2 in the fifth inning.
The Wildcat bats went crazy in both the bottom of the fifth and sixth scoring the seven runs.
Brooke Petretti was huge all game for West Ranch on Thursday, as the junior batted 1.000 with four hits and two RBIs at the plate.
“I just try to focus on every pitch, pitch by pitch and just see where I can drive it to,” said Petretti.
The Wildcats had a great stretch to end the game that started back at the bottom of the fifth inning.
Senior Emma Watford got the start for the Wildcats. The ace looked sharp early with a 1-2-3 opening inning while also retiring six of her first seven batters.
Some pitches got away from Watford but she still managed to keep the Bulldogs in check, keeping the Wildcats in striking distance, giving up three runs in four innings.
Buena’s big fifth-inning rally was huge and had the visiting team score five runs with the whole batting order seeing the plate.
The inning was the first for pitcher Francesca Decesare who relieved Watford. Decesare struggled in her first inning, giving up the five runs thanks in part to an infield error and a bad throw from right field.
“I was a little shaky in the beginning,” said Decesare. “It was cold and I couldn’t get a lot of spin on the ball. But I adjusted and just had to take deep breaths before every pitch.”
West Ranch did not hesitate and responded with a rally of their own. First, left fielder Krista Viereck brought in Petretti with an RBI triple. After catcher Addie Ferguson singled, Decesare then had her first shot at the plate and launched deep for a base-clearing double.
The Wildcats got into the sixth inning, now down just three runs. Decesare was quick on the mound, getting two first-pitch fly-outs and a ground-out as the junior retired the side in about two minutes.
The top of the sixth was so quick it continued the previous inning’s rally with no problems. Petretti got back to the plate with two on base and no outs and the sophomore delivered, tripling again. Viereck would score the go-ahead run on an RBI double from Ferguson. The pair finished with two hits each.
“We’re a good-hitting team,” said Wildcats head coach Phil Giarrizzo. “We proved that in the Hart Tournament.”
West Ranch’s four-run sixth inning forced do-or-die time for Buena, but Decesare stepped up again. After allowing a leadoff hit, the relief pitcher struck out two Bulldogs and ended the game with a flyout to second base.
Buena pitcher Destinee Perez would go the whole game on the mound for the Bulldogs. Perez was also 1-1 with 2 RBI and two walks on offense.
West Ranch has now won three straight and will host one more non-league game before entering Foothill League action.
The Wildcats will play Kennedy at West Ranch Wednesday at 3 p.m.