Mo tag

Luna wins 20th as NC takes down Blinn in 8-inning opener

From The Corsicana Daily Sun —

LUFKIN — By the time it was over the players on the Navarro softball team didn’t know which way to run or who to hug.

Some raced to home plate to celebrate with Kelsey Villasenor, who scored the winning run that lifted Navarro to a dramatic 11-10 win over Blinn in eight innings in the opening game of the Region XIV Tournament Thursday in Lufkin, where the Bulldogs came back all day.

Others ran to hug Destiny Kennedy, whose sacrifice fly to left field brought home Villasenor to complete the inspirational comeback as the Bulldogs scored three in the bottom of the eighth to move onto the winner’s bracket in the four-day tournament that ends with the final on Sunday.

Sunday’s winner advances to the national tournament.

Don’t blame the Bulldogs for going a little crazy at the end.

Blinn had them down early and late, but whatever the Bulldogs needed they seemed to find it as they came back from a 2-0 deficit in the first, an 8-6 deficit in the sixth and finally — after watching Blinn take a 10-8 lead — they made one final comeback to win.

Take a breath, Navarro.

The Bulldogs meet Angelina Friday at 3:00 p.m. For their second round game.

Blinn’s Sydney Wellmann hit a two-run homer in the first, but Navarro came right back to with three in the bottom of the first for a little foreshadowing of how this one would end.

Kennedy, Mo Miller and Jade Havard all reached base to start things off for Navarro, and then cleanup hitter Kristin Ahearn walked with the bases loaded to bring in the Bulldogs’ first run. Megan Noel ripped an RBI single and Havard aced home on an error on the play to lift Navarro to the 3-2 edge. Havard hit a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2 in the second, and the Bulldogs built the lead to 6-3 with two runs in the fourth when Miller and Ahearn both scored on the Blinn catcher’s throwing errors.

Blinn made six errors during the game, which helped keep Navarro alive.

Blinn scored five runs in the sixth to grab an 8-6 lead but the Bulldogs came back again. This time Noel brought in a run on a grounder and a fielder’s choice and Villasenor, who went 2 for 4, delivered the RBI single that knotted things at 8-8.

It was still tied after seven, and it looked like Blinn might emerge with its two-run eighth, but Ciera Luna, who was named MVP of the region earlier on Thursday, came back in the game and shut the door in relief. Luna won her 20th game of the year by starting and finishing the game. She retired all three outs in the eighth after the leadoff hitter got on base.

Aylssa Dotson and Noel both singled to start the bottom of the eighth, and Velasenor reached on a fielder’s choice when the throw to get the force out at third was late. With one out, Kristin Lopez walked to make it 10-9 and then Caitlin Moerbe drew a bases loaded walk to knot things at 10-10 before Kennedy delivered the biggest sacrifice fly of the season for Navarro.

Then everyone just went crazy.