NEW BRAUNFELS – Thursday’s San Antonio East Central–New Braunfels Canyon softball game was a chance to see if the unbeaten Hornets were for real and if they could hold their own against the UIL 6A state runner-up. They might be for real, but, minus two bad pitches, Canyon was in control most of the way.
Catcher Kaylyn Cordero’s two-run single in the fifth broke a 5-5 tie and pitcher Aliyah Prichett struck out the last four batters of the game, as Canyon (17-5, 4-0) survived blowing a 4-0 first inning lead and won 7-5 to take sole custody of first place in 26-6A. She also had a home run on a windy day in the hill country.
“Honestly, I was thinking ‘I wonder what would happen if I [hit] a change-up.’ That was the first thing that was going through my head,” said Pritchett.
Cordero, who walked with the bases loaded early in the contest, hit a bases-loaded single to right in the fifth and had three RBIs in the game.
“I saw it coming, slow down the middle, and waited on it, ” said Cordero.
Before the first inning was over, it looked like the game was headed for a run-rule. East Central starting pitcher Bella Saldivar, who pitched so well in the first month of the season, gave up a home run to Catherine Kuhn, a double, a single, and walked a pair of batters to score four runs and was chased after just two-thirds of an inning.
The Hornets (14-1, 3-1) battled back against Pritchett, who gave up three runs in the final two innings of last year’s 6A finals loss to Humble Atascocita. In the third inning, she loaded the bases with none out, but almost got out of it. A 1-2-3 double play got two outs, but Cierra Gutierrez singled home a pair of runs to cut it to 4-2. That was one pitch Pritchett wanted back.
The other was a three-run homer hit by Jazmine Torres in the fifth that tied the game at five.
“We realized that this team is going to come out and compete, and we had to compete back,” said Pritchett. “I knew my team had my back.”
Hornet reliever Holly Ayala pitched phenomenally in relief, going five and a third innings, allowing only two earned runs and three total, but the Hornets could not overcome an early hole to save their unbeaten start.
The teams will meet at East Central in April.
Greg Sherman covers high school sports for VYPE SA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.