LAREDO – After taking a 4-2 win in Game 1 of its NJCAA Region 14 softball doubleheader against Laredo College, then jumping out to a 7-0 Game 2 lead, it appeared Lamar State College Port Arthur was on its way to a sweep against the Palominos. Instead, Laredo took advantage of an offensive explosion coupled with a defensive meltdown by LSCPA to claim a 10-8 win.
The Seahawks move to 15-20 overall for the season and 6-10 in Region 14 play while the last-place Palominos go to 15-21 and 4-13. LSCPA takes on Coastal Bend College on Saturday afternoon in the second day of the Seahawks' swing through the Valley with first pitch of the doubleheader against the Cougars taking place at 1 p.m. Both games can be seen live at www.coopersports.net.
Freshman Brooke Smith had a career day at the plate for the Seahawks, going 2 for 4 with two home runs in the second game of the day, following up on a home run and double in the first game. But that effort was overshadowed by an improbable comeback by Laredo College as the Palominos rebounded from a 7-0 deficit to score six runs in the fifth and four in the sixth en route to an eventual 10-8 win.
Smith started the Seahawks' scoring with a solo home run in the first, taking the shot to right for a 1-0 lead. Back to back doubles by Olivia Rivera and Madeline Stone gave the Seahawks a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Elicia Gonzales followed with a two-out single for another run in the inning for a 3-0 advantage.
Smith led off the third with another solo home run, this one to center field, and the Seahawks were up 4-0.
By the time the top of the fourth inning was done, the Seahawks were up 7-0 and it appeared the game was all but in hand.
A lead-off walk by Kassandra Vargas and then back-to-back singles by Gonzales and Vanessa Espitia loaded the bases. Frederick sent Vargas home with a one-out single, then a bases-loaded walk for Rivera pushed the Seahawks out to a 6-0 lead. Stone singled to get LSCPA's seventh run home.
The Hawks got three quick out against Laredo in the fourth inning but couldn't add any more runs as they went through the top of the fifth with just one single, coming from Jessica Saenz.
Laredo launched into the bottom of the fifth with a double, then a single before the Hawks could manage their first out. Another single, then back-to-back fielding errors, kept Laredo's offense alive. Two straight doubles pulled the Palominos to within one run at 7-6 before LSCPA could end the attack.
Laredo tied the game after three consecutive singles to open the bottom of the seventh inning, then two more errors and a run-scoring single put the Palominos ahead 10-7.
The Seahawks flirted with a Hollywood movie ending after a one-out double by Saenz, then a two out single by Gonzales pulled LSCPA to within two at 10-8.
A fielding error by Laredo put Espitia at first and Gonzales at second with the big-hitting Smith coming to the plate.
With a full count, Smith took a third strike on the outside corner to end the game.
Stone finished 3 for 4 at the plate with two RBIs, while Gonzales was 3 for 4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Saenz went 2 for 4 with a run scored and Frederick was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
The Seahawks outhit the Palominos 15-13 but were especially hurt by the six fielding errors, compared to Laredo's two fielding miscues.
Saenz took the loss in the pitcher's circle after giving up three runs, two earned, in relief. She allowed four hits with a strikeout and a walk.
Vargas started and worked 4.1 innings in the circle, allowing six runs, though just one earned, one eight hits with four strikeouts. Hunt closed out the game, pitching the final two-thirds, allowing one unearned run with two strikeouts.