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Eagles push RedHawks to the limit
Close friends stared each other down across the softball diamond in a good-natured but intensely contested game Monday in Princeton.
It was Colusa High that played a nearly flawless game in the field to hold off a nearly-as-sound Princeton softball team 3-1 in a seven-inning contest.
Players from both teams play on teams together during the summer, so it was no surprise to the RedHawks players when the little school 14 miles to the north put up a stiff fight even though the high school teams hadn't played each other in six years.
The RedHawks took the first lead with two outs in the second inning on a clean single up the middle by third baseman Emily Corriea, which scored Katie Mobley and Mattie Myers.
Corriea, a freshman, had a little extra-friendly motivation in the batter's box, hitting against her close friend, Eagles sophomore pitcher Amanda Hansen.
"It was fun because I've played travel ball and a lot of the girls are from Princeton. It's just fun playing against girls that you know," Corriea said.
Princeton's Ashley McMartin led off the bottom half of the inning with a sharp single through the left side of the infield and came around to score on an RBI-single by senior Xochitl Gonzalez to cut the lead to 2-1.
Colusa sophomore pitcher Sophia Garcia struggled early, allowing at least two baserunners in each of the first three innings, but Corriea made a leaping snag of a blazing line drive off the bat of Lauren Ferreira leading off the bottom of the fourth.
"It was pretty much just a reaction," Corriea said of the grab, which robbed Ferreira of an extra-base hit.
From that point on Garcia allowed one baserunner, and that player reached on a passed ball strike three which led to a four-strikeout inning in the bottom of the seventh. Garcia finished with 15 strikeouts.
Hansen held the RedHawks' offense off the board over the next two innings and then gave way to Gaby Rodriguez, who tossed two scoreless innings before giving up an RBI-double to Colusa's Ashleigh Biggs in the top of the seventh.
Hansen took the loss despite pitching well. She allowed two runs on three hits in four innings, and struck out three. Rodriguez tallied four punch-outs in relief over the final three innings and gave up one run on three hits.
When not on the mound, Hansen and Rodriguez split time at shortstop and provided each other with solid defense with the help of Ferreira at third base and McMartin at second.
"We came out here and we played our hardest and we're really happy with the way we fought because a lot of people were probably thinking they were going to 10-run us because they're really good," McMartin said.
With an enrollment a quarter the size of Colusa's, the 3-1 loss remains a positive sign for Princeton's season.
"We want to go far because we've played together for years, we want to go out there and we want to show that we can do this," McMartin said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.