By Andrea Camarena

A second round comeback may be the key to getting the Exeter Monarchs a playoff birth this softball season.

The Lady Monarchs finished the first of three rounds of Central Sequoia League play with a 2-3 losing record.

Exeter fell 0-4 in the league opener with Dinuba on March 16 but turned things around for a 6-0 victory in its second meeting with the Emperors on Wednesday, April 11.

The win, preceded by a 6-7 loss to Selma, put the Monarchs at a 3-4 league record after two second-round games.

The victory in Dinuba showed improvement in both Exeter's batting and fielding since the first encounter.

As a team, Exeter improved its batting average from .292 to .355 with both Devann McClellan and Callie Souza going two for three against Dinuba's pitcher Allyssa Orosco.

Souza got a double, an RBI, a sacrifice fly and scored two runs.

Collectively, Exeter's defense played near perfect, making just one error and improving the team's fielding percentage from .853 to .968.

&#8220The girls pulled all their many talents together to pull of a great win against Dinuba,” Exeter coach Karen Zeibak said. &#8220Although we got off to a very slow start this season, having played one bad inning in many losses, this win shows we can come back and have a winning season.”

Exeter started scoring early when Callie Souza got into scoring position with a two-out double in the top of the first inning. Marlene Gonzalez brought Souza home for the go-ahead run with her only hit of the game - a centerfield single.

Exeter continued its scoring in the second inning when Katie LaFleur got on courtesy of a Dinuba error in left field. Ashley Wilson moved LaFluer over with a sacrifice bunt.

Exeter's McClellan moved LaFleur and Wilson to second and third on a single, setting up Cortney Whitlock to double them both home and stretch the lead to 3-0.

McClellan's bat was productive again in the fourth inning when she led off with a single, stole second and was batted in by Whitlock's second double of the game.

Exeter's Niki Zeibak moved Whitlcok to second with a single allowing her to score on a Souza sacrifice fly to center and bringing the run total to five.

Exeter scored a final run in the seventh when Souza led off with a single and scored on a LaFleur sacrifice bunt.

Exeter's Caitlin Carter pitched a complete game for the win. She allowed no runs on five hits and walked three batter. She struck out two batters and allowed one double.

Her record is now 3-4 with a 1.724 ERA.

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