MABTON - It was night and day between the two games played by Mabton and Naches Valley high schools yesterday. The Naches Valley softball team had an easy time in game one, winning 13-1, but needed the help of what some described as a horrible call at home plate to walk away with a 6-5 victory in game two.
The first game in yesterday's doubleheader lasted just five innings. Jessica Quesada pitched the entire game for the Vikings, giving up 14 hits and walking four batters. She also recorded one strikeout.
The Rangers had gone ahead 13-0 after four innings but Mabton got one back in the bottom of the fourth. Cristal Arreola was hit by a pitch to lead off. Quesada then walked, moving Arreola over to second base. Hilda Galvan then hit a ball that allowed Arreola to score on a fielder's choice.
Isabella Ahumada was the only Lady Viking to get a hit in the first game. She finished 2-for-3.
"We made simple mistakes," Mabton Coach Jesus Sustaita said. "We missed some easy fly balls. That pretty much sums it up for the first game. We had five errors and Naches Valley capitalized on them."
Sustaita also gave the Rangers credit for their hitting, noting they had 14 of them.
The second game of the doubleheader was a different story. The Lady Vikings out hit Naches Valley eight to seven and had several chances to win the game that went into extra innings.
Freshman Jazzee Sustaita pitched the entire nine innings for Mabton, giving up seven hits, walking seven batters and striking out two. The youngster pitched her way out of several jams to keep the Rangers in check for most of the game.
Down 1-0 to begin the bottom of the fourth, Mabton rallied for two runs to take the lead.
Jaque Cruz led off with an inside the park home run to tie the game at 1-1. Marlen Chavez was then walked and she stole both second and third bases. She then came home on a passed ball.
Naches Valley then tied it at 2-2 in the top of the fifth but Mabton came right back in the bottom of the inning and scored three runs. Corrina Quesada led off with a single, followed by a Consuelo Flores single. Hilda Galvan then singled, which scored both Quesada and Flores. Galvan was brought home by a Cruz hit.
Up 5-2 Mabton allowed Naches Valley back into the game in the sixth inning. The Lady Rangers scored three runs to tie the game.
Both teams were scoreless in the seventh inning although Mabton had an opportunity to win it but a player was thrown out at third.
To begin the ninth inning the teams went to a Texas Tiebreaker and put one player on second base to start the inning. The Lady Rangers were able to score a run to go up 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth Mela Alcada started at second. She was on her way home after a Viking had put the ball in play but was called out at the plate when the umpire saw a phantom tag. The Naches Valley catcher clearly missed the tag but Sustaita said that's just the way it goes sometimes.
The Lady Vikes couldn't get anything going after that and ended up losing the game.
"They never gave up," Sustaita said of his team. "They played with a lot of heart."
Mabton did have its chances. The Vikings left three players on the bases in the second inning of play. The errors hurt them as well. Mabton had two outs on Naches Valley in the sixth inning when an error occurred that should have been the third out. The Lady Rangers then scored three runs.
There were some great plays as well. Mabton's Alcada threw out a Naches Valley player at the plate from the outfield to stop a run from scoring in the seventh inning.
"It was a great game," Sustaita said. "They did a fantastic job. That's how softball should be played."
Mabton (0-2, 3-6) will travel to Granger to take on the Spartans on Saturday, April 25, starting at 11 a.m.