HANFORD — Bryn Frauenheim admitted she was nervous before her clutch at-bat.
She came off the bench in the fifth inning and struck out in her first plate appearance. Then before her turn in the bottom of the seventh, Corcoran intentionally walked first baseman Arianna Chavarin to load the bases.
“Right when they [walked her] I told Bryn, ‘It’s up to you,’” Sierra Pacific coach Victor Chavarin said.
Trailing 6-5 with the bases loaded and down to their final out, Frauenheim said Chavarin looked at her with rage in his eyes and also told her, “You have to make them respect you.”
She earned more than just respect. Frauenheim earned a walk-off win by unloading on a 1-0 fastball for the game-winning single and a 7-6 final over Corcoran on Monday.
“I tried to believe in myself as best as I could and cut the ball in half and got it out there,” Frauenheim said. “I heard the crack so that was a really good sound. You always look for that sound, but then I looked and I saw it going through the gap, so then we knew.”
As catcher Kaitlin Thayer slid across home plate for the game-winning run, she rose and pumped her first in the air from the excitement. Then she ran over to Frauenheim for a big embrace.
“I had no doubt that Bryn would hit us home. I had complete confidence in her,” Thayer said. “Right when I got up I just wanted to go give her a big hug because she deserved everything.”
Just getting into position for the win itself was a huge task. Deanne Stoner came off the bench and had a pinch-hit single up the middle to get things started. But two small fly outs brought the Golden Bears to the brink of defeat.
Before their comeback, Chavarin told his team the inning was going to show them what they were made of and if their hearts were in it, they would pull it off.
Thayer fought off a couple pitches at the plate before delivering a single up the middle. An error on the play allowed her and Stoner to advance to second and third. Arianna was walked and Frauenheim took it from there.
“They showed up when they had to,” Chavarin said. “They hit when they had to and we pulled it off.”
It was only Sierra Pacific’s fifth win of the year, but after a tough preseason — where they lost five games by two runs or less — Chavarin is expecting big things from the girls.
“Coming into our league they knew what to expect and what they could do,” Chavarin said. “Like I told these girls, we should be able to compete. We should be up on top in league.”
This game puts them in the right direction since Corcoran entered the day 4-0 in the East Sequoia League and was outscoring opponents by an average of 8.5 runs per game.
“We have high hopes for this season so it feels really good to take them down,” Frauenheim said.
The deficit was the second one they had to make up on the day with the Panthers getting on the board in the second for a 1-0 lead. The Golden Bears came back with three runs of their own in the third.
After Sierra Pacific tied the game on an error, shortstop Ashlyn Martinez had an RBI double to take the lead and Thayer, who finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run, laced an RBI triple to make it 3-1.
Corcoran rallied and made it 5-3 with their own 3-spot in the fifth, but the Golden Bears tied it up again thanks to RBIs from Mikayla Hoggard and Thayer. Hoggard was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs.
Sierra Pacific (5-13-1, 3-1 ESL) continues at home with a game against winless Strathmore (0-10, 0-5 ESL) at 4 p.m. They hit the road on Friday for another contest against Corcoran (7-8-1, 4-1 ESL).