Jaguars pass first post-season test
Tense situations call for tough pitchers, which is the exact scenario Mill Valley senior Ashley Perkins found herself in on Monday.
Seventh inning, two runners in scoring position and no outs. No problem.
Perkins retired the next three batters for a 3-2 victory over fifth-seeded Piper, keeping Mill Valley alive in the Class 4A regional tournament.
The fourth-seeded Lady Jaguars (14-7) advanced to the semifinal round, where they faced top-seeded Baldwin on Wednesday.
The winner advanced to the regional title game later that night. Results were not available at press time.
Perkins worked the Piper lineup for 12 strikeouts, but it was the Mill Valley offense that shined when called upon.
Kristy McClure scored what proved to be the game-winning run when senior Shannon Keith hit an RBI double to right-center field in the top of the sixth inning.
"I just knew we needed some more runs," Keith said. "Being up by one run was not enough, so I was ready to tear it up and hit the ball."
Piper would later add a run in the sixth off Jill Waltsak's triple to pull within one with one out, but the Lady Jaguars avoided further damage by getting a double play.
Sarah Luschen fielded a ground ball and stepped on first, then fired home where senior catcher Amy Siler tagged out Waltsak to end the inning.
Mill Valley freshman Katrina Heinrich gave the Jaguars a 2-0 lead in the second with a two-run double.
"I was nervous, but I wanted to knock my sister in," Heinrich said. "I was really nervous with a full count on me, so I just told myself that I had to hit it."
In a meeting earlier this season, the Pirates did not score any runs against Perkins, but Piper came into regionals riding a six-game winning streak.
"They swept Santa Fe Trail, so they were playing with a lot of confidence," Sullivan said. "We knew they would come and hit the ball better than the first time."
Getting past Piper means the Jaguars have passed the first test, but the strong regional competition is still looming in front of them.
"We knew we've got to be prepared and be ready," said Keith. "There's more to come."