Ramona will play Poway on Thursday in the Open Division playoffs.
RAMONA As Haley Brinker stood on second base with a double to cap a four-run sixth-inning rally, the senior first baseman thought her hit was icing on the cake.
Her double gave Ramona High a four-run lead heading into the top of the seventh inning.
It almost wasn’t enough.
“I was worried the entire seventh inning,” Brinker said. “I kept telling myself we had to shut it down right now.”
The Bulldogs, seeded No. 2 in the Open Division of the San Diego Section softball playoffs, needed every one of those runs, including Brinker’s RBI, to hold off No. 8 Eastlake 6-5 in a 2½-hour third-round elimination game Tuesday at Ramona.
“Weird is the only way to describe this game,” Ramona coach Kristina Wright said. “We took advantage of their mistakes. That’s what happened last Saturday to us against San Marcos.
“That was stressful. I have a headache.”
By winning, the Bulldogs (26-4) move on to Thursday’s fourth round at the Santee Sportsplex to face defending Open champion Poway at 4 p.m.
Poway rallied from three-run deficits to beat Ramona twice this season.
“We won two games on Thursday my sophomore year to make the finals against Cathedral,” Brinker said. “I know it can be done.”
Eastlake (17-10) was eliminated from the postseason.
It was a weird game.
Eastlake pitcher Samantha Manti, who gave up five hits, fanned the first six batters she faced.
Trailing 1-0, Ramona scored two runs in the fourth inning after two were out. Jonna Rodriguez’s pop fly went 15 feet down the line and struck the Eastlake catcher in fair territory before rolling to the backstop.
Ramona’s second run that inning scored on an error for a 2-1 lead.
With the game tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Rodriguez’s fly out in foul territory chased home the go-ahead run. The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs, one on a strikeout and the other on a wild pitch.
That set the stage for Brinker’s run-scoring double.
Eastlake tallied three times in the final inning, but had two runners thrown out at the plate.
“The whole game was unbelievable,” Brinker said. “I’ve never played in a weirder game than this one.”