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Palmer holds off Doherty rally to prevail 3-2
Kara Flores was due at bat with runners on second and third in the fifth inning and her team leading by two. The Palmer junior was already 2 for 2 and had scored the Terrors’ first run after doubling in the first inning.
As she approached the plate she stopped, faced the dugout and shouted to her father, a Palmer assistant coach.
“If I hit a home run, I get to get my bellybutton pierced,” she said.
Rich Flores can breathe a sigh of relief. Instead of a homer, she drilled a hard ground ball down the first-base line that would have been a double if not for a lunging grab by Doherty first baseman Alexia Gowing, who regained her balance and stepped on first for the second out. Ariel Armijo scored from third on the play.
The ground-out RBI proved to be the difference, though, as visiting Palmer held on the defeat the Spartans 3-2 Monday afternoon.
To get the win, the Terrors had to survive as Doherty (5-5) rallied in the bottom of the seventh. After getting two runners on with one out, Emma Chesire and Sara Boyle hit back-to-back RBI singles to bring the Spartans to within one with one out.
After a pop-up, Palmer pitcher Kaylene Ross induced a routine ground ball to short but Boyle, running from first, beat the throw from Rylan O’Driscoll at second to load the bases.
“It happens,” Ross said. “I knew I had to pick her up and attack the next batter.”
Ross dug deep and struck out Kimber Pierson with a fastball to end the game.
“It was nerve-racking there at the end,” said Palmer coach Steve DeFelice, whose team improved to 7-3. “Kaylene’s a senior; she came out and threw really, really well.
“It was a good character builder and a rivalry game so it’s a nice win.”
Ross allowed six hits, three walks and hit three batters while striking out eight. She came up big with runners on base, stranding 10 Spartans.
Palmer’s first run came when Ross hit a sacrifice fly to left that scored Flores. The Terrors added two runs in the fifth with an RBI double by Samantha Archuleta and Flores’ RBI ground out.
While happy with the RBI, Flores is still in search of the elusive homer and is eager to have her father make good on his promise.
“He says if I hit a home run, I get whatever I ask for,” she said, “but I’ve never hit a home run.”
Meaning that, for now, there will no new piercings in the Flores household.