Hustlers stay alive in extras

Katie Brickman
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With their season on the line, the Hustlers worked hard for their first win of the series.

Tanya McLean of the Hustlers prepares to catch the ball and tag Sandi Gray from the Colts during Game 3 of the Senior Ladies Fastball championship series at Caribou Heights on Wednesday evening. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

Despite a rain delay in the fourth inning, the Hustlers forced the Colts to 11 innings and to Game 4 in the Senior Ladies Fastball championship series.

The Hustlers scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning and held the Colts to just one run, ultimately securing the 6-4 victory on Wednesday evening.

“It was a very long one,” said Sheri Logan of the Hustlers. “We just got in there and were aggressive. We were looking for hits and we found a way to get it done.”

The Hustlers scored in the first inning and the Colts scored in the second inning.

That was it for runs until the game went to extra innings.

The teams traded runs in extras due to the international softball rules, which puts a runner on second at the start of each at bat.

It was the Hustlers that got some timely hits in the 11th inning to close out the game.

“This is hard, especially with the extra innings,” said Kim Neithercut of the Colts. “I have to give credit to their pitcher … we didn’t hit that well — whether that was us or her, you have to give credit.”

Taylor Phillips pitched the complete game for the Hustlers, giving up four runs on nine hits, walked 10 batters and struck out two.

The half hour rain delay might have helped Phillips stay strong on the mound, Logan thought.

“It might have helped give them a break. Taylor threw all 11 innings, so it might have been a little beneficial for her,” Logan said.

The Colts knew winning this game would have given them back-to-back titles, but leaving 15 runners on base didn’t help them.

“We just didn’t capitalize in the extra innings. We held them in one inning, but (then) we couldn’t bring them in,” said Neithercut. “We didn’t capitalize all night. I think we left multiple runners on in every inning.”

In the early goings of the game, both teams played solid defensively and picked up their pitchers in the field.

“There wasn’t a lot of runs being scored, especially early on, so the defence had to be extra tight,” said Neithercut. “One hit would have been the difference in the game.”

The Hustlers will bring the same “nothing to lose” mentality to Game 4 tonight (6:30 p.m., Caribou Heights) as they try and tie the series up.

“This was huge because if we would have lost, we would have been done,” said Logan. “We had to come in and be focused and ready. We will do the same thing.”

As for the Colts, they are hoping their bats pick up again and can regain that momentum.

“We don’t want to be tied up,” said Neithercut. “Hopefully we can pick our game back up and be ready.”

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