For the second time in six days, Costa Mesa High’s softball team left the field in defeat after surrendering a lead in the final inning.
The Mustangs took a two-run lead into the bottom of the seventh, but two unearned runs and a walk-off single by senior shortstop Janette Oh gave host University a 9-8 win over Costa Mesa in Friday’s nonleague game.
“Being appointed a leader on the team, I feel like we should be able to step up,” said Oh, who dropped a flare just inside the left-field line to end the game. “I’m just glad that I was able to be the one to do that.”
The Trojans (1-2) broke their huddle with a “Dub-City” chant. Oh said that her team was not paying tribute to the Golden State Warriors, and she took it one step further.
“We’re cooler,” Oh responded. “High school softball is better.”
University jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Natalie Zane had a three-run triple in the first, and Zoe Manjarrez added an RBI-double in the second.
The Mustangs (3-2) got two-out, run-scoring singles from Katie Belmontes and Hailie Salyer to cut the deficit to 5-3 in the third.
Costa Mesa got one more run in the fifth, and a four-run sixth vaulted the Mustangs into the lead.
Melizza Hernandez and Natalie Torres worked walks to begin the inning. Senior catcher Haley Sheffner came up with one out. She had seen four pitches in her first three at-bats, but on the fourth pitch of her sixth-inning plate appearance, she smacked a double to center that gave the Mustangs a 6-5 advantage.
“I told my team, ‘Take the first pitch,’” Sheffner said of her team’s change in approach at the plate. “‘Don’t swing until you get a strike on you, and then let [Sydney Spencer] pitch to you. Eventually, she’ll crack and then she’ll just start throwing up to you, and she’ll have to throw a strike.’”
Another run would score when the Trojans committed a throwing error on a bunt single by Valerie Castro. Haley Wolf followed with her third hit, an RBI-single, before two pop outs ended the rally.
Wolf was hit hard at times, but she strung together three scoreless innings from the third to the fifth to help the Mustangs get back in it. Three of the nine runs against her were unearned. She struck out four.
“You got to play defense,” Mustangs coach Doug Deats said. “It’s a game of catch, and we didn’t do it.”
Spencer allowed six earned runs and struck out nine for the Trojans. She also had three hits.