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Pride slip past Thunder in 12 innings

When Pitman and Buhach Colony square off on the softball diamond, you better be prepared to stay awhile.

The two teams went extra innings for the second time this season with the Pride outlasting the Thunder 5-4 in 12 innings at Pitman High on Thursday afternoon.

Skylar Taylor hit a ground ball to second with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 12th inning. Buhach Colony second baseman Hunter Gibson threw home, but catcher Miranda Collins was unable to handle the throw as Pitman’s Alexis Mettler slid across the plate with the winning run.

“I just think they’re a good team and we’re a good team, so it’s going to be a good game when we play each other,” Buhach Colony coach Becky Gibson said.

The game was similar to the first matchup that saw the Thunder win 4-3 in eight innings on March 18 at Buhach Colony.

A little too similar as far as Pitman coach Joe Lewis was concerned as he watched his team surrender three-run leads late in both games.

This time his team was able to recover and pull out a win.

“I was worried about that and I tried to stay on top of it,” Lewis said. “Once Buhach scored the three runs to take the momentum, I told our girls we had to get it back. I told them to just keep swinging the bat. We were swinging it well.”

The Pride (8-6 overall, 4-3 Central California Conference) jumped out to a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first three innings.

Taylor accounted for most of the Pitman offense as she finished 4 for 6 at the plate with a double and four RBIs. She knocked in runs in the first and third innings. Reagan Wolfley singled in Kaline Malech for Pitman’s second-inning run.

The three runs looked like they were going to be plenty as Pitman right-hander Alexis Mettler didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning and didn’t allow a Thunder runner to reach second base until the sixth inning.

However, the Buhach Colony bats came alive in the sixth.

With one out, Sylvia Alvarado, Collins and Ali Clarot hit consecutive singles to plate the Thunder’s first run. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hunter Gibson hit a ball that glanced off Mettler. The Pitman pitcher chased the ball down, but her throw to first was wild, allowing two runs to score to tie the game at 3-3.

The international tie-breaker rule went into effect in the 10th inning, which allowed both teams to start the inning with a runner on second base.

The Thunder took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 10th on Dyonne Vargas’ run-scoring single with two outs. Pitman answered with Taylor’s RBI double in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitman reliever Sally Acosta held Buhach Colony scoreless in the 11th and 12th innings. The Pride then went to work in the bottom of the 12th as an intentional walk to Mettler and a single by Nicole Bailey loaded the bases with no outs.

Acosta then hit a grounder that Buhach Coloy shortstop Katrina Wilson scooped up and fired home to get the first out. That set the stage for Taylor, who sent the Pride home a winner.

“It’s a huge win for us, especially if we want to stay in the top three in the standings,” Lewis said. “I’m hoping we can take the momentum into tomorrow’s game at Atwater.”

Buhach Colony will host Merced today at 3:30 p.m.