The Mount Carmel School Lady Knights barely got away from the Marianas High School Lady Dolphins, 12-11, in Wednesday's Marianas Interscholastic Sports Organization girls fast-pitch softball match at the Miguel “Tan Ge” Basa Pangelinan Ballfield.
The win issued MCS (1-5) a third place ranking over MHS (1-5) heading into this weekend's four-team single elimination tournament.
Back on Monday, the top-ranked Kagman High School Lady Ayuyus (6-0) finished their season undefeated with a stout 10-1 win over the Lady Knights and are definitely the team to beat heading into postseason play.
Defending champion Saipan Southern High School Lady Manta Rays (3-3) finished the regular season in second place.
The playoffs start at noon today and continue at 8am tomorrow on Tan Ge Field.
Lady Knights 12, Lady Dolphins 11
MCS established a healthy 8-2 lead in the opening frame off eight hits. Kimberly Sablan, Mikki Kautz, Amy Taylor, Rayann Yamagata, Carey Demapan, Jasmine Che, and Rikki Kautz all bashed hits and came in to score. Mikki Kautz bagged two hits in the inning, while Sablan scored twice and drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom frame.
Earlier in the top part of the inning, MHS' Jayna Lizama reached on a single and later stole home, while Nicole Beltau drove home a runner.
MHS added a run in the second when Maryann Waing reached home and the Lady Dolphins added three more in the third off four hits.
Then the count tightened up to 7-9 after the fourth inning as both teams worked around a run.
MHS' Judy Rose Bgirbabul brought in Ursula Lizama with a base rip, however MCS' Kaylani Lebria delivered an answer in the bottom portion.
MHS pulled ahead, 11-9, in the top of the fifth inning with four runs off four hits and some aggressive base running, but MCS fought back and knotted the match at 11-all in the bottom frame from two hits, three walks, and a bean ball. MCS' Sablan and Mikki Kautz touched home to keep their team alive.
In the end, the Lady Knights bit down and held off MHS in the top half of the sixth, after which MCS' Yamagata drew a leadoff walk to start the bottom of the inning and stole second base, third, and home for the win.
It was justice served for MCS which had a great chance to win the game in the previous inning, but one of their base runners simply failed to step on home plate.
Lady Ayuyus 10, Lady Knights 1
KHS' Mikayla Borja broke the ice in the first inning after belting a shot to left field and her teammates Catalina Del Cruz, Janica Lizama, and Ignacia Sakisat added to the early lead in the third inning; Sakisat was credited with the only hit of the frame.
KHS' Janelle Brel led off the fourth with a base hit and made it home with the help of Tracy Pelep's bat, while MCS' lone run came in later the fifth inning from an RBI single by Amy Taylor.
KHS then trudged ahead, 8-1, off two hits and some more hustle on the base paths in the sixth that led to Zerah Castro, Brel, and Pelep trotting to the dish.
The Lady Ayuyus went to add two more runs for good measure in the seventh inning off three hits; Dela Cruz and Borja touched all four in the process.
Notably, aside from all of the stolen bases, the Lady Ayuyus were actually hit-and-miss at the plate and struck out 11 times in the game.
Winning pitcher Castro went all seven innings and gave up one earned run off five hits, six walks, and eight strikeouts. Castro did a good job getting out of some jams from the hump and left MCS with 11 runners stranded.
KHS' Brel swung 2-for-3 with two runs, while MCS' Mikki Kautz batted 3-for-3 with a base-on-balls.