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Wheatland walks off against Lindhurst under the lights
Pirates edge Blazers 4-3
Usually when Lindhurst and Wheatland meet up under the Friday night lights, it's on the gridiron in September.
Unlike the football programs which face off every season, the Yuba County rivals have faced each other in softball just three times in the last 10 seasons.
There didn't need to be helmets and shoulder pads on Friday night for the Pirates and Blazers to rekindle this rivalry with intensity.
Wheatland shortstop Tara McIntyre slapped a base hit into left field to knock in Amy Nichols as the Pirates walked off in the bottom of the ninth inning with a 4-3 extra-innings victory over the host Blazers in the nightcap of the Lindhurst Tournament.
Nichols tripled with one out in the top of the ninth. McIntyre came up with two outs and jumped on the first pitch she saw from Lindhurst starter Shawna Hulsey.
"It was a good battle tonight," said Wheatland coach Jim Vossler. "Those were two great pitchers out there tonight that shut down some pretty good lineups."
Hulsey and Wheatland ace Randi May put on a clinic as the two right-handers went toe-to-toe, pitching five consecutive scoreless innings until McIntyre's game-winning single in the ninth.
Lindhurst freshman shortstop Asailah Brown led off the game with a triple to the right-field wall and Hulsey plated her with a sacrifice fly.
The Blazers tacked on two more in the top of the fourth. Sophomore Teja Butler led off with a single and scored on freshman Kaylie Wofford's triple. Hailee Gilbert knocked in Wofford with a single as Lindhurst jumped ahead 3-0.
Wheatland responded in the bottom of the fourth with a two-out rally.
With runners on second and third, first baseman Kiley DeCoster laced a single into left field to score both Tah-Nee Rios and Kirstin Johnson. Nichols tied the game with a bloop single into center field, which allowed DeCoster to score.
That was all the offense both teams would get until the ninth inning as Hulsey and May settled in. Hulsey ended her night with 15 strikeouts, while May tallied seven strikeouts as both pitchers went the distance.
"This was a game where one play could make the difference," Vossler said. "This was our second game where we had to win it in the last inning."
Wheatland opened play at the tournament with a 17-8 victory over Paradise.
The Pirates trailed 8-4 and scored 13 runs in the top of the seventh inning to pull out the victory as they pounded out 16 hits in the game.
McIntyre went 4 for 5 with a double, triple and four RBIs. Mikayla McLanahan homered and finished 2 for 5.
Lindhurst coach Bill Biggs was pleased with his young team's effort against one of the top softball programs in the Mid-Valley.
Lindhurst started four freshmen and two sophomores on Friday night.
"We're seeing everybody's No. 1 (pitcher) this weekend which is what we want going into league," Biggs said. "A lot of these girls are fantastic players. This is a team you dream about.
"We have a lot of fun out here with them and they're hard workers."
Including scrimmages, Lindhurst will have played 16 games when it opens Golden Empire League play on Tuesday at West Campus.
The Blazers dropped their tourney opener on Friday to Paradise 2-1. Brown doubled and scored the team's only run on a triple from Deja Hawkins.
"I'm really happy with where we're at," Biggs said. "Both teams played great tonight."