The last spot in the lineup is often reserved for the offensively-challenged. Fortunately for Rock Bridge, its last hitter, Christie Puglis, played as if she were batting cleanup.
Rock Bridge beat Mexico 2-1 in nine innings Thursday night at Rock Bridge.
Puglis drove in both of the Bruins’ runs. Her two-out single in the bottom of the ninth scored Emily Lay and gave Rock Bridge the victory. She also threw out Robyn Baker at first from right field.
“The other three seniors are the more celebrated ones, but Christie had the opportunity,” Rock Bridge coach Jennifer Mast said. “She had a great night. We’re just really pleased for the kids.”
Puglis gave credit to her teammates.
“I couldn’t have done it without the other people who hit before me. I was pretty scared (in the ninth).”
Heather Walters started Rock Bridge’s ninth-inning rally with a one-out single. Lay then doubled to right field, but Mexico’s Kelli Hagan threw out Lindsey Witten, who pinch ran for Walters, at third. Amy Shufelberger reached first on shortstop Whitney Widaman’s throwing error to set up Puglis for the winning hit.
Rock Bridge’s Marijke Buitink pitched a complete game and gave up no earned runs. She gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked none.
Rachael Baker doubled off Buitink to lead off the fifth. She then stole third, but Buitink struck out the next three.
“I was motivated a lot, because who wants to lose on their senior night?” Buitink said.
Rock Bridge (8-11) hit four consecutive singles in the fifth. After Puglis drove Witten home for their first run, the Bruins left the bases loaded.
Walters and Lay each had two hits. McKenzie Whitaker had Rock Bridge’s lone extra-base hit with a two-out double in the sixth.
“They were pressing a little bit (offensively),” Mast said. “Our offensive output was not what we wanted it to be. (Cindy Maupin) didn’t quite have the speed we’re used to seeing, and I think we all had big dreams of doing a little more offensively.”
Mexico (3-7) took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Jennifer Kelly led off with a single and the Bulldogs’ first hit. Maupin bunted Kelly over to second, and LeeAnn Isgrig advanced her to third with a single. Kelly then scored on Buitink’s wild pitch.
Strong defense kept Mexico in the game. Right fielder Sarah Frey threw out Jenna Ash at third base in the sixth after Whitaker doubled. Hagan, the left fielder, threw out Witten at third for the second out of the ninth. Widaman had 10 putouts before her error.
Buitink said she could feel the low temperature, but it didn’t affect her pitching.
“I could not feel my fingers at all,” Buitink said. “It’s pretty hard to throw riseballs and screwballs when you don’t even know if you’re touching the ball, but hey, it worked out. All my pitches were still working even though it was cold.”