Lindsi Cosyns didn't have time to be nervous.
The Merced junior suddenly found the ball in her hands with the responsibility of pitching the final three innings against Golden Valley.
"All I thought is 'Hey, I've got to get it done,' " Cosyns said. "I had to step up for my team. The coaches are out here for us, but it's all about us girls."
Cosyns delivered as the Merced softball team held on for a 7-5 win over its crosstown rivals on Thursday afternoon at Merced.
Everything seemed to be going well for Merced (1-1 Central California Conference, 4-8 overall).
Ashley Heath-Smith and Marissa Rodriguez led off the game with back-to-back infield singles and came around to score to give Merced an early 2-0 lead.
Merced tacked on three more runs in the third inning with the help of three hits and two Golden Valley errors.
"We made it easier for them to be successful," said Golden Valley coach Sam Croninger, whose team dropped to 0-2 in the CCC and 2-9 overall.
Krista Copus and Charesse Vagas (3 for 4) drove home runs in the third to cut Merced's lead to 5-2.
Things only got worse for Merced when ace Taylor Gross was ejected from the game in bottom of the fourth inning.
Gross was thrown out at the plate and the umpire tossed her from the game for making contact with GV catcher Morgan Weber's neck during her slide.
"It's a rule that when you run into somebody, you can be kicked out," Merced coach Bart McAfee said. "It's a discretionary decision.
"I don't think she was trying to hurt the girl, but she ran into her. I didn't argue the call."
Cosyns took over in the circle and breezed through the fifth and sixth innings.
Two Merced errors helped GV cut the lead to 7-5 in the seventh inning before Cosyns shut the door.
"Lindsi sucked it up," McAfee. "She didn't really get to warmup. She came in and made some good pitches."
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports writer. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central California Conference
Golden Valley 002 000 3 -- 5 6 3
Merced 230 011 X -- 7 9 3
Gabi Espinoza and Morgan Weber; Taylor Gross, Lindsi Cosyns (5) and Kandice Mathis. WP -- Gross. LP -- Espinoza. SV -- Cosyns.
GOLDEN VALLEY --Tori Johnson 2-2 (Run, 2 SB), Krista Copus (2B, RBI), Charesse Vagas 3-4 (RBI).
MERCED --Ashley Heath-Smith 2-4 (2 Runs, 2 SB), Marissa Rodriguez 2-3 (2B, 3 Runs), Mathis 2-2 (2 RBI), Kelsie Hanson 2-3.
Records: Golden Valley 0-2 CCC, 2-9 overall; Merced 1-1, 4-8.