If the fans wanted to see a great home opening softball game this year, they got just what they wanted.The young T-birds hosted Eastern Arizona Gila Monsters on Feb. 12, in what was suppose to be a bitter battle between the two schools. It didn’t disappoint.
When the bats were finally dented in, Mesa would be looking up at Eastern Arizona, as they would suffer a heartbreaking 6-3 loss.
Head coach DeWight Byron will have a lot of teaching to do as the young Mesa team only suits up 5 sophomore players and a huge recruiting class of 13 freshmen.
Fortunately for Byron, the young team showed a lot of upside in the loss to Eastern, including the ability to come from behind.
Sophomore veteran pitcher Elena Marroquin came out firing as she retired her first eight batters with ease. It would be the ninth batter that would put Marroquin and Mesa in the weeds.
After giving up the first hit to Eastern, the hits started piling up and before long the bases were loaded.
A rare dropped fly ball from outfielder Emily Farrier would tally the first two runs for the Gila Monsters.
Offensively, the team couldn’t muster the timely hits needed to gets the runs across the plate. After what looked to be a strong first inning, the T-birds were left out to dry, with two women left on base.
The score would remain 2-0 until the fifth inning, when the Gila Monsters once again had the bases loaded. Just like the third inning, Mesa would surrender two more runs, giving Eastern the 4-0 lead.
Trailing 5-0 in the sixth inning, Mesa was left for done.
It took a timely single from Heather Eichenberger, and veteran batting from Emily Farrier and Theresa Tautimez that would put Mesa back in the game.
Before long the T-birds had the bases loaded and achieved their first real threat of the game.
After a couple key walks and a stifling single by catcher Kelsey Rieck, Mesa was only trailing 5-3 after six innings.
Eastern would tack on one more run in the top of the seventh and Mesa’s forward momentum halted in the bottom half of the inning as Eastern’s pitcher proved too much for the young T-birds.
Even with the loss, Byron is sure to have a lot to look forward to this year.
Freshman pitcher Te’Keisha Pittman showed pure dominance in her relief appearance as she blew away the batter with her fastball.
She will be battling for a key starting job throughout the season.
Freshman Heather Johnson is another key addition that is sure to bring excitement to every game.
The speedy lead-off hitter will be just what Byron needs as he tries to get someone to fill the shoes of Jessica Ware.
Ware was last years player of the year who now plays for ASU.
Mesa, now, 3-4-1, will look to avenge the loses to Eastern as they will take on Paradise Valley C.C. on Feb. 26. The game is scheduled to take place at 2 p.m. here at MCC.