February 3, 2012
San Antonio – Alex Garcia enjoyed the moment all hitters dream of late in Thursday’s season opener for the St. Mary’s softball team.
“I saw the ball come in like a beach ball,” she said.
With the game at stake, she proceeded to – well, throw an impromptu beach bash.
Garcia blasted a two-run shot over the left-field wall in the bottom of the sixth inning, rallying the Rattlers from a one-run deficit to beat Eastern New Mexico 5-4 on the opening day of the 8th Annual St. Mary’s NCAA Division II College Classic.
Garcia drove in catcher Christina Rodriguez (Jr., San Antonio) on the play, who started the play at second base after a reversed call that initially had her caught stealing at second base. Instead, after a reversal, Rodriguez was ruled safe, setting up the stunner at the SAISD Coach Mary Ann Villarreal Softball Complex.
Part of a jovial team huddle afterward, Rodriguez joked of initially being ruled out, saying, “I’ve never practiced a diving hook slide, and I don’t know why I tried that.”
But it turned out she knew what she was doing, as the slide forced a wayward tag that resulted in the defender dropping the ball upon tagging Rodriguez.
Heather Haas (Jr., Shiner, Texas) started on the rubber for the Rattlers (1-0), and proceeded to give the Rattlers four solid innings before being relieved by Emily Brittain (So., Corpus Christi, Texas), who picked up the win.
Helping celebrate her parents’ wedding anniversary on this night, newly married right fielder Shelly Lee Zawadzki (Jr., San Antonio) went 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI, while Garcia finished 3 for 3 with a pair of runs scored.
Star first baseman Jared Gonzalez (Jr., San Antonio) went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs.
Barring bad weather, St. Mary’s will return to the field with a pair of games Friday, first against Angelo State at 4 p.m., followed by a battle with East Central at 6 p.m.