One home run after another, Liberty overwhelms Dublin in NCS softball playoff rout

BRENTWOOD – Liberty third baseman Bella Rice hurriedly ran around the infield during the second inning of the North Coast Section Division I playoff game, not quite sure if she’d put enough oomph behind her swing and not totally certain the ball would land over the fence until she was close to second base.

But Bella got her chance to really show off her home run trot in the very next inning, this time belting a pitch over the left field wall with such force that she was certain it was gone the get-go.

“It just felt so good off the bat,” Rice said on Tuesday after going 2 for 3 with four RBIs. “And then running around the bases, it felt good to see my teammates all at home plate.”

Liberty hit three towering homers – and barely missed on a fourth when the ball bounced off the top of the wall for a ground-rule double – in the Lions’ 9-0 victory over Dublin. The hosts put the game away early, scoring all nine in the first thee innings. 

The Lions have hit 33 homers this season, but their coach Brandi Macias said her hitters don’t go up to the plate trying to send every ball 300 feet over the wall.

“We try to keep it simple, and by doing that, they’re not overthinking,” second-year coach Macias said. “When we see a good strike, we’re going to take a good swing.”

A bundle of second-year standouts ended up taking a whole bunch of good swings for the Brentwood school on Tuesday. 

And with the way sophomore pitcher Kate Skinner was dealing on the mound, Dublin had no shot at coming back. After striking out 152 in the regular season, Skinner K’ed 14 and allowed just three hits in a complete game. 

“One pitch that was working especially well for me was my rise,” Skinner said. “I was able to get them to swing and miss a little bit.”

Liberty, which improved to 19-3, made a compelling case that it had been under-seeded at No. 7 by the NCS. However, its players said they didn’t care one way or the other. 

They were just happy to be in the playoffs after six consecutive losing seasons. 

“I’m not worried about seeding, because I know we have each other’s backs,” Rice said. 

After putting up a couple of runs in the first inning, Liberty sophomore Kelsie Skaggs hit a home run over the center field wall to double the lead. Dublin made it 3-0 a few moment later when Rice got ahold of her first home run.

After Dublin went down in order in the top of the third, Liberty put the game out of reach with six runs in the bottom half. Kaitlyn Macias drove in one run on a ground ball, and then Madison Tuttle scored on a wild pitch.

Rice smacked her second home run, and then freshman Taylor Jennings finished the scoring by tripling a the final run in. 

“It feels good having confidence, knowing that my hitters have got me,” Skinner said. …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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