Softball: Metea Valley rallies past Neuqua Valley in last at-batMetea Valley pitcher Lori Obendorf makes a play to first for an out against Neuqua Valley at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Ill., on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 2, 2012 9:14PM
Metea Valley saved perhaps its most mentally tough showing for Wednesday’s Upstate Eight Valley showdown against Neuqua Valley.
The Mustangs (10-8, 7-5) played the game as the “home” team even though the game was at Neuqua Valley. Metea Valley’s true home field was left unplayable due to heavy rains the previous day. In addition to that disadvantage, the Mustangs trailed 6-2 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
All they did was push across five runs — three in the sixth and two more in the seventh — to win a 7-6 ballgame. Junior catcher Alyssa Coletto (1-for-4 with three RBI and a stolen base) slashed a ball into the right-center field gap to plate the tying and winning runs.
“I was just looking for a perfect pitch and I was just driving it,” Coletto said. “I just needed a base hit here. That’s all I was looking for.”
Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas took pride in the team’s display of mental toughness.
“(We take away) a lot of confidence, I think,” she said. “We’ve been talking about staying tough, especially being mentally tough and having no fear in pressure situations, and (we) talked about who could be the hero. And today Alyssa Coletto did a perfect job of that. She was great behind the plate all day, did a nice job keeping our pitchers calm and wanted to be up in that game-winning situation and came through with a huge hit.”
Coletto’s hit came with no outs in the inning, as Wildcats hurler Jamie O’Brien (9-7) sandwiched two hit batsmen around a walk to begin the seventh. Forced to deliver a strike, O’Brien left a pitch in Coletto’s zone.
Shortstop Anna Petersen began the rally over the final two innings with a home run to lead off the sixth.
Brooke Meyer gave Neuqua Valley a 3-2 lead in the fifth on an RBI single after Kelsey Dominguez tied the game with a sac fly earlier in the inning. Then, in the sixth the Wildcats (16-9, 9-3) scored three times for what appeared to be a safe cushion. The lead was not meant to stand, though.
“You learn to be ready for anything,” Neuqua Valley coach Melissa Wilson said. “Obviously, we had a few things not go our way again today and that’s happened to us quite a bit this season, so you just kind of learn to be prepared for anything that comes your way and always work to score more runs.”
Jenna Hall (4-1) got the win in relief for Metea Valley with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Metea Valley starter Stephanie Bova went 5 1/3 innings while allowing nine hits and six runs. She struck out one while doling out four walks and hitting a batter.
O’Brien pitched six-plus innings and yielded just six hits, but issued four walks and hit a pair of batters.