Grand slam locks Central win over Latin America

Date Published: 
August 7, 2014

Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark:  Central’s Sydney Swartz (4) celebrates after scoring. Coastal Point • R. Chris Clark: Central’s Sydney Swartz (4) celebrates after scoring. Never believe the action ends in the seventh inning. Anyone who left early from the Central vs. Latin America senior game on Sunday would have missed Taylor Meehan’s grand-slam homer, which cemented the 10-5 South Bend, Ind., victory over Maunabo, Puerto Rico.

Despite a 5-2 lead in the seventh, Central was just getting started, aiming deep and placing balls all over the outfield. The bats lit up, with Nichole Kirkpatrick, Alyssa Gutierrez and Mackenzie Shields on base.

After a walk brought in one runner, Meehan brought everyone else home with the grand slam.

“I was so nervous,” Mooney said, but she told herself, “Just clear your head — just swing.”

Central took an early lead in the first, with Alyssa Gutierrez slipping home and Megan Bonk placing the ball perfectly in an outside corner for a double and two RBIs.

Latin America would make their mark in the bottom of the third, when Adriana Medina’s beauty of a pop dropped over second and a Central error made that a triple, ensuring an RBI off a former walker.

At 3-1 in the fourth, both teams left girls in scoring position, which could have turned the tide of game, giving Central a cozy lead, or more direly, pulling a tie for Latin America’s. But after a single by Luz Feliciano and double by Medina, Central halted things with two quick outs.

Central’s Jordyn Westphal later aimed deep for an RBI, which became bases-loaded on a walk. Central would walk home once more, until Latin America ended it with a quick catch at third.

At bat in the fifth, Latin America’s Nelvaliz Ortiz stole second during a slight confusion at home plate. Two walks loaded bases, and a third walk lifted the score to 5-2, but Central fielders finished them with a ground-out and pop-out.

Latin America wasn’t done in the seventh, though, as Feliciano’s double brought home a walker before she and Naitzir Westerband slipped home, bringing Latin America’s total to five points.

Central brushed off those points and simply said, “We can’t let up,” Mooney recalled after the game.

Latin America’s Nashally Rivera Gonzalez was a lead pitcher, earning seven strikeouts. Meehan led with four RBIs, and Westphal and Gabriela Guzman followed with two apiece.

“It’s been fun. I’m having a blast already,” Meehan said. “We’re probably never gonna play foreign teams again.”