Frontier sophomore Kaycee Olson figured that with her team down to its final strike, she had to swing at any pitch close. And even, as it turned out, pitches that weren't so close.
Olson hit a bases-loaded single on a pitch that was barely above the ground with two outs in the seventh inning to lead Frontier to a 4-3 comeback win against host Stockdale on Thursday.
"I just felt like I had to get a base hit for my team, just put it in play somewhere," Olson said. "When you put it in play, good things happen."
An inning earlier, Olson had put another ball into -- and then out of -- play, sending a home run over the left-field fence to break up a shutout bid from Stockdale pitcher McKenna Valencia.
That made it 3-1 Mustangs, and Emily Escobar's leadoff homer in the seventh cut the lead to 3-2.
That was the score when Olson came up with the bases loaded and two outs. Stockdale reliever Aymee Broome threw two strikes, then Olson chopped a single over the out-stretched glove of third baseman Marissa Moran. One run came in to tie the game, and when left fielder Maryssa Melendez briefly bobbled the ball, Izzy Gonzalez sprinted home to make it 4-3.
Olson finished 3-for-4, but she had the Titans' only two hits through the first six innings.
"We had 12 hits on Tuesday; I kept waiting for them to start coming today," Frontier coach Trevor Bazemore said. "Kaycee has been on fire, so when she comes up in that situation, you're confident. She hit the ball off her toes, and then (Gonzalez) had some heads-up baserunning."
Tori Lamb got out of a two-on, two-out jam in the bottom of the seventh to finish a complete-game victory.
It was the first time in school history Frontier (20-10, 9-4 Southwest Yosemite League) won the season series with Stockdale.
"With only one week left and playoffs right around the corner, it would be a good time to get hot," Bazemore said. "We're hitting well and pitching well. It's an exciting time to coach this team."
As for Stockdale (12-16, 6-7), it must sweep Bakersfield in two games next week to meet the school criterion for going to the playoffs (.500 or above in league or overall). The Mustangs wasted a good performance by Valencia, who took advantage of a consistently generous strike zone and three big hits: A two-out RBI double from Valencia in the first, a leadoff double from Lucy Lopez in the third and a one-out triple from Melendez in the fifth, all producing a run.
"With most of the teams in our league, you can't take any lead for granted," Stockdale coach Amanda Hockett said. "We just told them it's in our hands next week. We can't worry about anybody else now."