Maybe Angelina College head softball coach Chrystal Vega isn't quite clear on her salary structure. Apparently, she thinks she's getting paid overtime.
The Lady Roadrunners swept Midland Sunday with a pair of walk-off wins, including a 4-3 win in 11 innings in the nightcap. Combined with a 19-inning game earlier in the week, Sunday's 11-inning affair made it 58 innings for AC in less than four days.
"This is nothing new for these girls," Vega said. "They know in every single game, we're not done until the final out."
Kelseigh Braaton provided the heroics in the opener, driving in pinch runner Taylor Jaynes with a rocket single down the third-base line in the bottom of the seventh to give AC the 1-0 win. Taylor Sells then made it a sweep in Game 2, launching a wall-banging double in the bottom of the 11th for the 4-3 win and the sweep of the pre-season's fourth-ranked team.
"We have the type of lineup where there are no holes offensively," Vega said. "Any one of these players can do the job at any time in the game."
In the nightcap, the Lady Roadrunners and Lady Chaps finished the regulation seven innings tied at 1-1, with AC scoring a run in the first on singles from Amy Holt, Sam McCord and Kayla Johns, who drove in Holt with a single to left.
Midland picked up an unearned run in the third, with Angel Lopez reaching on a fielder's choice and coming around to score on an AC throwing error.
Using softball's tie-breaker rule – the Lady Chaps faced a nine-hour drive following the game – each team began each extra inning with a runner on second. The Lady Chaps scored in the eighth and 10th innings, only to see the Lady 'Runners answer in their halves of the innings. In the bottom of the eighth, Nicole Sanders scored from second when a throw on Holt's bunt went awry. In the bottom of the 10th, pinch runner Brittani Stone moved to third on a Sanders sacrifice and scored on Holt's single to tie the game at 3-3.
The Lady 'Runners kept the Lady Chaps off the board in the 11th, thanks to a great defensive play by McCord, who threw out Chelsea Boyd at the plate after fielding a ground ball at second.
That set up a big finale in the bottom of the inning: McCord took her place at second, but was thrown out on Johns' bunt attempt. Jenna Richardson walked, and after a strikeout, Sells blasted a ball that might have cleared the wall if not for the wind blowing in, scoring Johns and giving the Lady Roadrunners their 10th win of the season.
"I just waited for my pitch, and I finally saw it," Sells said. "I'd been seeing nothing but inside pitches all day, and I finally got one out over the plate where I could get the bat extended."
The big shot made a winner of reliever Sarah Espinosa, who came on in the fourth and held Midland to one earned run over the next six innings. Backing her were several spectacular defensive plays, including diving catches from Holt, Richardson and Vincent.
The opener was no less thrilling for AC fans, with the teams deadlocked in a scoreless tie for seven innings. Midland lefthander Clarissa Molina baffled AC hitters for six innings, allowing Braaton's fifth-inning single until the bottom of the seventh. Then, Sells worked the count for a one-out walk, and Richardson and Sanders followed with back-to-back singles. Braaton took advantage of a drawn-in infield, ripping a ball past the third-base bag and scoring Jaynes for the winner.
Debi Risenhoover pitched the complete-game shutout for AC, scattering five hits, striking out two and walking just one over seven innings.
The Lady Roadrunners (10-6) are scheduled to travel to Lon Morris on Monday, with game time for the opener set for 3 p.m.
Amanda Vincent 1:
Angelina College shortstop Amanda Vincent dodges a breakup attempt from Midland's Hannah Raubolt during Sunday's doubleheader in Lufkin. The Lady 'Runners swept the Lady Chaps in walk-off style, winning the opener 1-0 and taking the nightcap 4-3 in 11 innings. (AC Press Photo)
Amanda Vincent 2:
Angelina College shortstop Amanda Vincent slaps the tag on Midland's Diana Parada during Sunday's doubleheader in Lufkin. The Lady 'Runners swept the Lady Chaps in walk-off style, winning the opener 1-0 and taking the nightcap 4-3 in 11 innings. (AC Press Photo)
Stacie Tassin 1:
Angelina College pitcher Stacie Tassin delivers to a Midland hitter during Sunday's doubleheader in Lufkin. The Lady 'Runners swept the Lady Chaps in walk-off style, winning the opener 1-0 and taking the nightcap 4-3 in 11 innings. (AC Press Photo)