San Antonio – Well, you can’t say the Rattlers don’t have style.
The St. Mary’s softball team (19-14, 2-1) took two in the doubleheader against Abilene Christian University (18-8) on Wednesday, taking back the two wrenching losses in the bottom of the seventh it endured against the Wildcats just two weeks ago.
It was a steady climb to a 4-1 victory in Game One for the Rattlers, scoring one run in three consecutive innings en route to the win. It was a show in Game Two with the Wildcats intentionally loading the bases in the bottom of the seventh of a scoreless stalemate for pinch-hitter Jared Gonzalez (Jr., San Antonio) to smack a walk-off single to win the game 1-0 in her first appearance of the day.
The victories over the recently nationally ranked Wildcats were just as sweet as claiming a vengeance for the heartbreaks caused by the last time they faced off.
“We really wanted to come out and get those two losses back,” says right fielder Shelly Lee Zawadzki, “It was a bad taste in our mouth. We really wanted to come back and get those wins so we were really fired up coming out here.”
Zawadzki (Jr., San Antonio) proved to be fired up, kicking dust behind her for three stolen bases in Game One along with a double to pick up her 10th RBI of the season.
“I just try to go get into scoring position so it’s easier for my teammates to get me (home),” says Zawadzki, who has six stolen bases out of six attempts. “It’s easier to get home from second base so that’s always my goal to get over there.”
The leadoff hitter pounded away for four hits in Wednesday’s doubleheader, leading the Rattlers in batting average with .398.
But Zawadzki isn’t the only Rattler who can swing away.
It was a speedy Game Two, lasting just over an hour as the Wildcats and Rattlers faced repeated three-up, three-down innings. Maricela Bissaro (So., San Antonio) went the distance, pitching the full seven innings for her seventh win of the season and third shutout.
It might have been a flashback for the Rattlers in Game Two, looking at the final inning with both teams scoreless in a now-or-never at-bat as they experienced in both losses to the Wildcats two weeks ago. Only this time they were the ones stepping up to the plate.
A hard-hit double from freshman Vianna Gutierrez (San Antonio) brought up senior Richelle Morales (San Antonio). The Wildcats decided to take their chances and intentionally walked the shortstop in hopes for a double play, but Caroline “Pee Wee” Flores (Sr., San Antonio) snaked a sacrifice bunt instead to advance each runner a base. With Rattlers now on second and third with only one out, the Wildcats’ options were running low.
Pinch-hitting for Sarah Perez (Jr., San Marcos, Texas), Christina Rodriguez (Jr., San Antonio) was also intentionally walked to load the bases that the Wildcats hoped would bring them out of the inning with a force out at every base. However, the Wildcats weren’t expecting another pinch-hitter, slugger Gonzalez, who hopped off the bench in her first appearance of the day not as cold as they would hope.
“Well, luckily enough in about the third inning me and my fellow teammate (Rodriguez) went out to the cages to bat,” says Gonzalez, who has 17 RBIs for the season, “and sure enough we both go in.”
Her practice swings in the cage ironically turned into her warm-up as she was yelled to bat by head coach Donna Fields.
It was over in a swing with Gonzalez smacking a hard-hit single to center field to bring in the winning run to end the game 1-0.
The effect of the two wins Wednesday will extend much longer than the celebration on the field as the Rattlers face a three-game series against Heartland Conference competitor the University of Texas – Permian Basin this Friday and Saturday.
“I think now we are a little more confident, a lot more relaxed, I would say,” says Gonzalez. “So we’re looking forward to doing really, really good in conference.”
The Rattlers will start a double header against the University of Texas – Permian Basin Friday at the St. Mary’s Softball Field at 3 p.m.