By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
SELMA – The first Central Sequoia League contest between the Exeter Monarchs and the Selma Bears proved just how close the league is this season. It wasn’t decided until the bottom of the seventh with the Monarchs ending up on the wrong end of a 4-3 barn burner.
“I feel like it was our game and we gave it to them,” Exeter head coach Karin Zeibak said.
In the bottom half of the final frame CSL perennial powerhouse Selma (6-4, 2-1) trailed Exeter (8-3, 2-1) 3-2 with one out. But they had placed two players on first and second bases which accounted for the tying and winning runs. The next Selma batter lined the ball to left field where it fell in front of Exeter’s fielder Larissa Thompson. Not normally accustomed to playing outfield, Thompson miss played the ball and it bounced off her glove allowing both runs to slide across home.
“We had a couple injuries today, and we had to put her out there,” Zeibak said. “I guess she just miss judged it.”
The injury which forced Zeibak to make the adjustment happened all the way back at the beginning of the game in the top of the first inning. Exeter’s centerfielder Allison Paregien had reached first on a single down the left field line. After she was moved over to second by another single, that was when Zeibak called for a double steal. As Paregien slid into third her right wrist jammed up against the foot of the Selma third baseman causing her hand to bend all the way back against her forearm.
Paregien remained in the game and later scored on a double by Katelyn Kirkman which helped give Exeter a 2-0 lead. However, after examining her wrist in the dugout she did not return to the game.
“That is a major loss that early in the game,” Zeibak said. “It doesn’t matter where the ball is hit, she is going to catch it.”
With Paregien out, Zeibak was forced to move Kirkman from left to centerfield, and put Thompson in.
Still, with a very young outfield Exeter was able to stave off Selma for much of the game. Exeter’s pitcher Brooklyn Blackmon helped make up for the inexperience by changing the speed of her pitches keeping the Bears’ batter on their toes. She retired her first six batters with either a ground or fly out. She only surrendered one walk in her complete game loss. It is her fourth loss this season, and now has a record of 8-4.
The final inning error however, could have still happened without the same consequence if Exeter had driven in one of their many players left on base.
“They were left out there all over the place, so that always hurts,” Zeibak said.
On two separate occasions Exeter left baserunners on third. Kirkman was left stranded in the top of the fourth. Corinne Acosta was left 60 feet away on the top of the fifth with Exeter leading 2-1 at the time.
Zeibak ensures, considering how close Exeter came to winning, that no changes will be made when Exeter hosts Selma during the second round of CSL play on April 24.
Exeter had a chance to stay in contention last night against the Hanford West Huskies. Final happened after press time.
This Friday, Exeter faces another first place team in the Kingsburg Vikings on the road at 4 p.m.