Big Spring High School Softball Coach John Sparks got a first look at his full-strength squad Monday night, and liked most of what he saw.
For sure, he enjoyed the outcome.
Terra Keeney stroked a RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning to give Big Spring a 7-6 victory over Coahoma in non-district action Monday at the Lady Steer Softball Complex.
Considering it was a matchup of Howard County teams, perhaps it was only fitting that this one would play out like it did, with both teams rallying from deficits while displaying a flair for the dramatic.
Big Spring (2-1) carved out an early 2-0 lead, but the Bulldogettes (2-2) tied the game in the third inning, then took the lead in the fifth when Jordan Matthews scored on a wild pitch by BSHS starter Logan Yarbar.
The Lady Steers re-took the lead in their half of the inning, however. Mercedes Ruiz's one-out single plated Haley Dimidjian to tie the game, then a Coahoma error allowed Ruiz and Keeney to score later in the inning for a 5-3 advantage.
But the Bulldogettes proved they had more than one comeback in them in their half of the sixth as they scored three runs on a pair of hits and a throwing error by Ruiz, who had come on in relief of Yarbar in the inning.
Coahoma was holding that 6-5 lead when they loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh. But Sparks brought in Tiffany Gonzales, his third pitcher of the night, and she escaped the inning with no runs scored, inducing a pair of infield fly balls and striking out Bree Hilario to end the threat.
“Tiffany came in and just shut them down,” Sparks said. “It was amazing — that's all I can say.”
Coahoma Coach Robb Glasscock admitted Big Spring's defensive stand in the seventh ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
“When you load the bases with no outs, you've got to score some runs,” Glasscock said. “But give Big Spring credit. They executed when they had to.”
Big Spring's Angelina Castillo forced extra innings with a two-out double in the bottom of the seventh. Then, after Gonzales blanked the Bulldogettes in the top of the eighth, Keeney delivered her two-out blast to score Dimidjian and end the game.
“The girls just never gave up,” Sparks said. “They played really well in the late stages of the game. They just kept battling, which says a lot for them.”
The game was the Lady Steers' first of the season with a full squad — Yarbar and shortstop Ambra Hill joined the team after the conclusion of basketball season — and Sparks believes the additions will only strengthen his team.
“We're going to be OK,” he said. “We've got some things to pull together, and we will … All this is going to do is make us better.”
Big Spring returns to action Thursday at the West Texas Classic in Midland, while the Bulldogettes are at Post next Tuesday for a 5:30 p.m. game.
Coahoma 002 113 00 — 6 9 4
Big Spring 110 030 11 — 7 14 3
Clanton and Neff; Yarbar, Ruiz (6), Gonzales (7) and Herrera; W — Ruiz; L — Clanton; 2B — Big Spring 3 (Gomez, Castillo, Keeney).