Middle Softball Has a Home Run of a Playoff Game

Horizon Honors’ middle school softball team competed against Tempe Prep and won.

Selina Fluty, Columnist

On Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 3:30 p.m., Horizon Honors’ middle school softball team finished warming up, and the crowds were excited for the playoff game for the girls to begin with Horizon Honors in the field, ready to begin.

The first Tempe Prep player was out with a play made eighth grader Kaylee Arenz. The next batter hit a double. After she stole to third base, the next batter hit a single, and the runner on third base scored. After a few more outs and plays, including another run, Tempe Prep switched to the field, and Horizon Honors was up to bat with the score 0-2.

The bottom of the first inning started with eighth grader Alison Kim up to bat. She got to first base, then two girls struck out. When the next girl, seventh grader Piper Corey, hit the ball, Kim scored a run while an outfielder dropped the ball and Corey cruised into first. When the next girl was at bat, Corey hit a triple. Rachel Hattasch, eighth grader, was up next, and got to first base; she was able to steal second and third, while Corey scored. A few players later, the inning was over, and Horizon Honors warmed up for outfield play. At this point, the score was 2-2.

The top of the second inning began with the Tempe Prep batter heading to first base. She was almost out when trying to steal second, but managed to evade Horizon Honors’ girls. The next batter made it to first base, and the girl on second ran to third. She scored a run next, which led to a minute of movement on the field. By the time the dust had settled, there was another run and a girl on third. Horizon Honors stopped for a moment to talk as a team, but the girls didn’t quite have their head in the game yet. Another girl scored a run. A strikeout and an out on first concluded Tempe Prep’s time at bat, leaving the score 2-4.

Horizon Honors began their at-bat with a strikeout, which disheartened the group for a moment. Then, Kim returned to the plate, and hit a home run to the raucous shouts of approval from the audience. This point seemed to improve group morale, and the students cheered each other on with more force than before. Hattasch hit the ball and ran to first, stole to second, but was out in a valiant effort to reach third base. Arenz struck out next, leaving the score as 3-4, Tempe Prep in the lead.

As Arenz warmed up her pitching arm, it’s clear she was suddenly thrown into the most important part of the game. With the semi-finals on the line, Horizon Honors had to win this game. Her pitches were sharper and faster with determination, and it was clear that Tempe Prep was about to have a harder time with Arenz pitching.

The third inning started with the the batter getting a single, but the next girl struck out. The next girl did manage to get to first base, but that didn’t stop any of the Horizon Honors’ girls. That same batter stole to second and third, then scored a run. However, the next batter was out on third. Tempe Prep was in the lead, but that was about to drastically change.

At the bottom of the third inning, Corey slid into first base, and Hattasch’s time at the plate allowed her to slip into third base. When Hattasch ran to second, Corey scored a run, and so did Hattasch. The score was tied, and the air was heavy with tension from the girls on the field. Tempe Prep talked briefly with their coach, and then another girl scores a run. Seventh grader Morgan Harder hit a single, and another run was scored. She slid into second and stole third. Then, with a chorus of shouts from the crowd, Kim was up to bat. She slid into first, then Harder scored a run after another girl got to second. When eighth grader Amber Fretwell hit the ball, the girls on the bases scored runs. At this point, the score was 9-5, Horizon Honors with a lead that left the girls proud of themselves.

The top of the fourth inning was relatively quick, and the first girl struck out. Another out made, another run scored, and then there was an out on first. The last portion of the game before the clock ran out was relatively quick as well. Arenz hit the ball far enough to slide into second base, and Corey helped her get to third with Corey on second. The next batter ran to second, and the bases are loaded. On the next pitch, Arenz got to home plate, and when the next girl hit a grounder, two runs were scored. However, the lineup of Horizon Honors’ girls had been messed up, and those last two runs did not count. However, the girls weren’t allowed back on the plates, even though their runs were revoked. In the final minutes of the game, the girls had one more run under their wing, and the final score was 10-6. Horizon Honors secured a place in the semi-finals on Feb. 4.

Kaylee Arenz later said that she was proud of her partners. “In the end, we worked as a team and we didn’t give up. It felt great to win.” She has confidence that her team will win at the semi-finals.

Congratulations to the middle school girls for a game well played and a graceful game to send them into the semi-finals.