Texas State Softball clashed against the National Pro Fastpitch All-Stars featuring Cat Osterman on Thursday and took the NPF All-Stars to 13 innings before falling 1-0.
Bobcat Field marked the fifteenth stop on the NPF All-Stars third annual Back to School Tour.
Bobcat pitching by Senior Anne Marie Taylor, and defensive play from Senior Anna Hernandez and Junior Coralee Ramirez, pushed the NPF batters to their limits.
“We scored a couple on Michigan (which ended in a 3-2 loss for NPF earlier in the tour),” said NPF Coach Jim Beita. “But only one here, this was a tougher struggle. We haven’t been in extra innings, this was the toughest battle we’ve had all year.”
Taylor pitched the full thirteen innings and allowed only three hits on forty-one at bats. Taylor held the All-Stars to zero runs through twelve innings before surrendering a run in the thirteenth.
Through fifteen games, the NPF All-Stars have been averaging 8.8 runs per a game during the 2012 Back to School Tour.
“To only give them three hits in thirteen innings is almost unbelievable to me,” said Coach Ricci Woodard. “We knew she was capable of it, but I also know what they’re capable of offensively. She did a great job of hitting her spots. They didn’t adjust to it real well, every time they tried, she did something different.”
In the first four innings of play, Osterman breezed through the Bobcats batting rotation by allowing one walk and seven strikeouts. Osterman allowed no hits in four innings of work.
“Yeah, we only had her for (Baylor and Texas State),” Beita said. “It was already pre-determined, before the game. I asked if she could go five innings and her response was maybe four innings.”
Both Hilary Bach and Jamee Juarez also saw time in the circle for NPF and accounted for zero earned runs, but Bach allowed six hits in four innings. Juarez pitched five innings and gave up two hits.
Having Osterman off the mound and a full extension diving catch from Ramirez gave the Bobcats a momentum shift to close the top of the fifth inning. Ramirez’s game also included a double in the fifth inning, a single in the seventh, and a stolen base in the tenth.
“I think it meant a lot,” Ramirez said referring to her defensive play. “After one thing goes right, other things will go right. I believe it was a huge momentum shift.”
The Bobcats positioned themselves in ideal scoring position with a double from Ramirez and a single from Jordan Masek in the bottom of the fifth. But with runners on second and third, NPF pitcher Hillary Bach answered the call by striking out the slide to end the inning.
In the fifth, sixth, seventh, tenth and eleventh innings, the Bobcats stranded runners and were unable to push forward a go-ahead run for a score. The Bobcats out hit their opponent eight to three, but couldn’t overcome the All-Star defense.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” Ramirez said. “We out-hit them, but it’s just how it goes, I guess.”
From the sixth to the eleventh inning with one out under her belt, Taylor managed to contain the explosive NPF All-Stars offense and keep the batters guessing with her mixture of low leveled pitches. Taylor completed the night with four strike-outs.
But, experience was a virtue. In their seven previous games, NPF outscored their competition by a combined score of 64-6. All the same, when opportunities were limited, the NPF All-Stars capitalized on their third hit when GiOnna DiSalvatore jacked a solo home run over the right center field wall in the top of the thirteenth inning.
“I thought eventually we would find a way (to pull off a victory), but I didn’t know how it was going to happen,” Beita said. “Or we were going to play until the lights went out.”
Texas State’s Taylor was awarded the Wilson MVP of the game, while NPF’s GiOnna DiSalvatore was named the Schutt’s MVP.
“This was a better overall effort by all of us,” Woodard said. “We came out with the belief that we have the chance to win a ball game. We played a good game and went extra innings. The score didn’t fall our way unfortunately, but everything else was exactly what we wanted to produce.”