ROBSTOWN — The big hit almost never came for Victoria West.
Instead, Marisa Rosales provided two insurance runs in the seventh inning, and the Warriors beat Mercedes 4-0 in Game 1 of their best-of-three regional quarterfinal series on Friday.
It was the seventh hit of the postseason for the junior, who’s slashed .538 with a team-leading seven RBIs through four playoff games.
The two will meet for Game 2 at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Robstown.
Rosales had been held hitless in her previous three at-bats.
“It took a lot of patience,” Rosales said. “I know it’s really hard mentally, overthinking. I just told myself I needed to stay calm and drive the ball.”
After a pair of strikeouts in two previous at-bats, Zaria Brigham got her hit to set the table as the nine-hole hitter. Katarina Zarate moved her over to third with a base hit two batters later before Rosales’ hit.
“We’re just trusting in the work we put in at practice,” Zarate said. “We’re trusting that if one person gets on, then the other is gonna do their job for the team.”
West (22-8) made five alterations to the batting order from its last time out with Rosales, Zarate and Grace Weiler shifting in the lineup, and third baseman Jordan Janak entering after serving as a flex player in the previous series against Sharyland Pioneer.
“Looking at what we had,” said coach Jody Thompson, “we wanted to catch them off guard in their scouting report and throw them off a little bit.”
The Warriors opened the scoring in the first inning with a single by Zarate and an error on Mercedes left fielder Bridgette Sanchez to score Sydney Harvey.
Zarate scored on a single by Maliea Huerta two batters later to put West up 2-0.
West was held hitless for the next 4.1 innings as Mercedes (22-9) starter Zelinda Camacho struck out five of the next 14 batters she faced.
“We kept playing as a team and we didn’t let that dictate what we did in the field,” Zarate said. “We played together and we picked each other up on defense. That’s what it’s all about.”
Alexis James’ biggest challenge came in the bottom of the fourth inning with runners on first and third.
Rosales made a basket catch to end the threat by the Lady Tigers and maintained the 2-0 lead for the Warriors.
“I was thinking I need to run as fast as I can to get to the ball,” Morales said. “I knew it was a do-or-die type moment. It was two outs. So I had to basically just go get the ball and not overthink it.”
CLASS 5A REGIONAL QUARTERFINALS
Victoria West 4, Mercedes 0 (West leads series 1-0)
West 200 000 2 — 4 9 1
Mercedes 000 000 0 — 0 3 1
W: Alexis James. L: Zelinda Camacho. Highlights: (W) Katarina Zarate 3-for-4, 2 R, 1 2B; Marisa Rosales 1-for-4, 2 RBI; Maliea Huerta 1-for-4, 1 RBI; (M) Klarissa Rizzo 2-for-3 Records: West 22-8; Mercedes 22-9.
Sam is a Sports Reporter for the Victoria Advocate. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (361) 580-6576. You can follow him on Twitter @Fowlersports14.