SELMA - With a runner on second and first, third baseman Hannah Garcia hit a walk-off two-run double to give the Selma Bears a 4-3 Central Sequoia League victory over Exeter on March 21.
Garcia’s double scored Chrissy Wallace from second and Ashley Paz from first. After Garcia’s double bounced deep into left field, Wallace scored easily from second while Paz hustled all the way from first as coach Chris Tapia waved her in to home plate.
“As I was running the bases, I just knew I had to get this run in,” Paz said. “I knew I had to do it for my team and I just did it for them.”
Wallace led off the bottom of the seventh inning with a bloop single that went over the head of Exeter’s first baseman and nearly in front the center and right fielders. After, Wallace reached scoring position by stealing second during Paz’s at-bat. Paz reached on base with a walk a few pitches after.
“We came through in the last inning,” Wallace said about walk-off win. “The pressure was on us, so we came and did what we were supposed to, but we could’ve had a better...well cleaner game.”
Genesis Moreno flied out after Wallace and Paz reached base, which meant all eyes in the stands were on Garcia.
“I always hear the parents in the background saying ‘Do what you do,’” Garcia said about her final at-bat. “It gets stuck in my head and I see that pitch and I just drove it.”
The game winning double was Garcia’s second hit of a 2-for-3 afternoon. She had a total of three RBI, which were her first of the season. The freshman’s first hit of the game was a solo home run to center field in the third inning.
“I knew it was going out, it went pretty deep,” Garcia said about her home run. “I did it because my grandma is in the hospital and she’s been wanting to see me play so I hit it for her.”
Garcia’s home run was her first RBI of the year. She has batted .375 this season, but the Bears coaching staff was waiting for those timely hits with runners in scoring position.
“We’ve been waiting for that to happen from her,” Selma head coach Chris Tapia said about Garcia’s three RBI performance. “I have coached her in seventh and eighth grade the last couple of years, I’ve seen her a lot, so I know what she’s capable of.”
Prior to the seventh inning, Selma (9-4, 3-1 in CSL) was behind throughout the game. Exeter (8-3, 2-1 in CSL) went up 2-0 in the first inning after a Katelyn Kirkland two-run double.
Garcia’s solo shot cut the Monarch’s lead to one run and it was one of Selma’s two hits at that point of the game. The Bears had a total of five hits compared to the Exeter’s total of nine.
In the fifth inning, Moreno scored the tying run from third off a sacrifice bunt from Marissa Cerda. Moreno got on base with a lead-off triple, which was Selma’s third hit of the game.
“I think we’re resilient, but I think we’re waiting too long to make our adjustments at the plate,” Tapia said. “Once we do make those adjustments at the plate, we’re dangerous.”
Selma starting pitcher Alyssa Grijalva keep the Monarchs scoreless from the second through fifth innings. During that stretch, the junior allowed two base runners that reach through a double.
Grijalva was on her way to pitching a scoreless sixth inning until Exeter’s Zoie Belk knocked in a run with two outs. Belk hit an RBI double that scored Nicole Rocha from second. Rocha reached base on a double with two outs.
The Monarchs’ sixth inning doubles were its fifth and sixth overall of the game. Selma had three extra base hits throughout the entire game.
Grijalva earned her sixth win of the season, throwing a complete game in the process. As a starter, it was Grijalva’s fifth win of the season and her third complete game of the year. Her overall record currently stands at 7-2. In eight starts this season, Grijalva is 6-2.
The win over Exeter was Selma’s fourth win of its last five games, but that one loss was to CSL opponent Hanford West two days prior to defeating the Monarchs. In a road game, the Bears fell to the Huskies 8-5.
With CSL wins over Exeter, Dinuba (13-1, 3-1 CSL), and Central Valley Christian (7-4, 0-3), the Bears are currently tied for first place (as of press time) with the Emperors through the first two weeks of league play.
On Saturday, Selma hosted Mission Prep for a doubleheader. The Bears won both non-league games by a combined score of 24-5. In game one, Selma out hit the Royals 16-4 enroute to a 14-4 win. In the second game, the Bears took advantage of eight errors committed by Mission Prep in a 10-1 victory.
Selma last played a league game on the road against Immanuel on Tuesday (after press time).
The Bears are scheduled to host rival Kingsburg on April 2. In 2018, the season series was split between the rival squads. The Vikings earned its first win over the Bears since 2014 after a 10-3 victory last May. In the first meeting, Selma defeated Kingsburg 12-7.