Early Thursday morning, Centennial’s softball team learned that three classmates had died in California when their car was struck by a suspected drunken driver.
They were Kiana Tate’s friends, and the Bulldogs shortstop couldn’t help but get emotional as she rounded the bases with the game-tying home run.
Centennial rallied from a two-run deficit in the fifth inning and scored the winning run on a wild pitch in the sixth to beat North Torrance (California) 6-5 in the Spring Jamboree at Majestic Park.
“You just have to play for them and put it all on the line,” Tate said.“You have to keep your head on straight, and reality hits in that anything can happen to you at any time.”
Tate’s homer couldn’t have a come at a better time. The tournament plays under a time limit, and the umpire announced the fifth would be the final inning. At that time, the Bulldogs trailed 5-3.
A strange play started the rally, when Centennial’s Deanna Barrera thought she struck out on a 3-1 pitch. Both teams forgot the count (the scoreboards at Majestic Park were not active), and North Torrance threw the ball around the infield. The umpire called delay of game and awarded Ball 4 to Barrera.
Tate was the next batter, and homered to tie the score.
Because the time limit had been reached, the sixth was played under tiebreaker rules with a runner starting the inning on second base. Centennial got through the top of the inning unscathed, then scored after a bunt moved Maddie Kallfelz to third base and a wild pitch ended the game.
“That was a fun game, good game to be at,” Centennial coach Mike Livreri said. “The kids came through and delivered.”
Livreri was happy after the game, but his mood quickly turned somber when his thoughts returned to the day’s news. A teacher at Centennial, he had taught one of the students and knew another.
“It was emotional for us early before that game started this morning to find out that news,” Livreri said. “We just have to take this as your sanctuary for a moment and play ball. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to cry and feel remorse and put a prayer out there for them.”
Centennial 17, Birmingham (Calif.) 0 — Jillian Bartley’s three-run homer in the first inning set the tone in the Bulldogs’ three-inning rout of the Patriots.
Kallfelz and Tatum Huntley added doubles for the Bulldogs.
Centennial’s Deanna Barrera struck out five and allowed one hit in the complete game.
Palo Verde 3, San Fernando (Calif.) 2 — Sianna Lewis had a game-winning single in the bottom of the fifth in a game shortened to five innings by the tournament time limit.
Lauryn Barker had a pair of doubles, and Taylor Askland pitched a complete game for the Panthers.
Palo Verde 5, Southwest (Calif) 0 — Makall Whetten homered as the Panthers took down the Eagles.
Makenna Martin doubled and picked up the victory in the circle.
Shadow Ridge 11, Valhalla (Calif.) 5 — Alisha Schultz tossed five strong innings and went 2-for-3 with a double and a home run to lead the Mustangs over the Norsemen.
Sydney Morgan went 3-for-3 for Shadow Ridge, and Merisa Osborn, Jasmine Martin and Mia Voges each went 2-for-3 for the Mustangs.
Shea Clements added a triple for Shadow Ridge.
Shadow Ridge 15, Mingus (Ariz.) 1 — Shea Clements, Alisha , Alyssa Stanley and Caitlyn Covington each hit a home run for the Mustangs in their three-inning rout of the Mauraders.
The Mustangs scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first inning.
Voges allowed one run on one hit en route to the win for Shadow Ridge.
Desert Oasis 12, Winslow (Ariz.) 7 — Holly Severance was 2-for-3, including a three-run home run in the fourth inning as the Diamondbacks topped the Bulldogs in five innings.
Fia Tofi added an RBI double in the second for the Diamondbacks, and Jaid Riana Raval had an RBI double in the fifth.
Morgan Thomas homered for Winslow.
West Torrance (Calif.) 7, Desert Oasis 1 — The Diamondbacks did not have an answer for Mailee Newman, who scattered three hits over seven innings, and they fell to the Warriors.
Brianna Magee went 3-for-4 with a double for West Torrance.
Liberty 8, Beaverton (Ore.) 1 — Shelby Carvahalo had two home runs and four RBIs as the Patriots rolled past the Beavers.
Jessica Meza pitched a complete game, and hit a triple for Liberty.
Liberty’s Jasmine Gonzalez was 2-for-4 with a triple and an RBI, and teammate Cali Christopher was 2-for-4 with a double.
Banning (Calif.) 10, Liberty 3 — Morgan LaNeve had a double and two RBIs, but the Patriots fell to the Pilots.
McKenzie LaNeve doubled and had an RBI for Liberty.
Banning’s Jayda Su’e had a homer and four RBIs, and Celine Salcido hit a pinch-hit home run for the Pilots.
Sierra Vista 9, Lehi (Utah) 4 — Watkins was 4-for-4 with a home run, double, two RBIs and two runs as the Mountain Lions pounced on the Pioneers to win in six innings.
Mia Buranamontri was 4-for-4 with a home run, four runs and two RBIs for Sierra Vista, and Hola Rosalia Nakayama was 3-for-4 with a home run, four RBIs and a run.
Abby Barnes homered for the Pioneers.
Brawley Union (Calif.) 8, Sierra Vista 4 — Aaliyah Medina homered and doubled, but Mountain Lions fell to the Wildcats in six innings.
Ryan Watkins hit a home run for the Mountain Lions, and teammates Taylore Edwards and Daelynn Hilton each doubled.
Dilynn Gill and Angelina Rodriguez each hit home runs for Brawley Union.
Southwest (Calif.) 16, Pahrump Valley 4 — Taylor Egan tripled, but the Trojans fell to the Eagles in six innings.
Ashleigh Murphy doubled for Pahrump.
Adriana Molina and Sadriena Rodriguez each doubled and homered for Southwest.
San Fernando (Calif.) 17, Pahrump Valley 1 — Evandy Murphy doubled, but the Trojans lost to the Tigers in five innings.
Lexy Angulo hit a home run for the Tigers.