Senior catcher Cortney Horne smiles after a solo home run for West Hills, which is undefeated in Grossmont Hills League play.
EL CAJON — On a softball team with just three seniors, expect anything.
That was never more evident than Wednesday’s game as an eight-run lead in the final inning almost wasn’t enough.
West Hills High, the defending Grossmont Hills League champion, allowed seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning before getting the final out for a 10-9 victory over Granite Hills that moved the Wolf Pack one step closer to a fifth league crown in the last six years.
Six hits and a pair of errors in that last inning made all of the Wolf Pack (13-3-1, 7-0) squirm a bit until sophomore reliever Kelci Ellis-Alvarez got the final out on a fly ball with the tying run at third base.
“I’m at a loss to explain that last inning,” said catcher Cortney Horne, one of only two seniors who played for West Hills. “I kept thinking, ‘Let’s end this.’ The score doesn’t matter, only the win.”
Horne slugged a solo home run in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. What happened after her fourth homer was amazing.
Holding a 10-2 lead in the final inning, freshman Ryleigh Dobyns, who doubled in two runs in a four-run top of the seventh, got a fly out before Granite Hills (10-13, 4-3) got it started with an error, a double by Halle Kyler, another error, run-scoring singles by Jessie LaPierre and Katie Wall, another single, a run-scoring single by Karen Creech, a strikeout and Kaila Dewitt’s three-run triple to set the stage for the final out.
“They had nothing to lose at the end,” West Hills coach Mike Applebaum said. “I don’t get scared much, but I was worried.”
Following Horne’s blast, the Pack pushed the lead to 3-0 on freshman Melissa Castillo’s two-run single in the fourth and 6-0 on sophomore Sydney Craven’s three-run double in the fifth.
They added four more runs for the 10-2 lead on Dobyns’ double, freshman Sierra Schlicting’s single and senior Brandy McCrystal’s ground out.
That proved to be just good enough.