By GERARDO RECINOS
The Dougherty Valley Wildcats ventured into unchartered territory on Tuesday afternoon, but although the Bulldog onslaught was late, it arrived with ferocity.
With a 3-1 lead going into bottom half of the third inning, fans looked perplexed, but the top of the Alhambra order sparked the team and rallied them back to a 9-3 win on May 10.
Sure, it took a little while to get going, but take it from someone who has seen a lot of Alhambra softball three years, there is nothing wrong with a little bit of competition.
Especially in Diablo Foothill Athletic League play, where Alhambra sees so little challenge.
Sam Whitworth, who has been up and down with her ability to command the strike zone as of late, was in and out of jams all afternoon. She was forced to throw 92 pitches in five innings worth of work, but only allowed two earned runs on the day.
More importantly she managed to evade the big inning in the third when she got Sofia Solomon to line out to Kimiko Zapanta with the bases loaded.
That gave the Bulldogs a window just big enough to sneak into.
Junior Bri Perez was the spark plug to the rally with two outs after some overly aggressive base running nearly saw them kill a rally. But senior Cara DiMercurio’s line drive single still managed to tie things up despite getting herself caught in a run down.
Whitworth got some help from her teammates for the second straight inning after loading the bases with one out. This time sophomore Lindsey Osmer flashed the leather to snag a line drive at third and have the presence of mind to turn the unassisted double play.
The Bulldogs piled up six runs for Whitworth to follow up the gutsy escape job by the right-handed senior.
Junior Morgan Azevedo continued to add to her quietly excellent season from the number five spot in the lineup by getting on base to put the Bulldogs in position to score off the bat of another junior who has had a great season.
Miranda Nilson laced a double over the head of the left-fielder to give Alhambra their first lead since the first inning. Nilson knocked in a pair of RBIs, her 14th and 15th of the year, which puts her tied for fourth on the team.
Zapanta, Perez and Karlee Sparacino then each drove in a run in consecutive at bats to ease the work on the mound for Whitworth. The pitcher settled down and got past a lead off walk by inducing a double play in her least stressful inning before handing the ball to Briana Edwards in relief.
Edwards was not much sharper than Whitworth, but her stuff looked better. She struck out two in her two relief innings and probably gave a solid preview as to what she will be able to do with more innings of work next season.
The Bulldogs visited Campolindo on Thursday, May 12, after Tribune deadline, before their final week of regular season play.