The Seaside High softball team kept peppering away after trailing by three runs.
Their persistence paid off, as the Spartans rallied to defeat North Monterey County 4-3 in their final at-bat of the game Friday afternoon at home.
Malia Usrey sent the Seaside faithful home happy, as her hit brought in Alana Chow Hoon, who beat the throw home with one out in the bottom of the seventh.
With the win, Seaside improved to 5-0 in the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division. North Monterey County fell to 4-1.
“We knew it was going to be a close game because these are two evenly matched teams,” said Seaside coach Sam Garcia. “We’ve been down before and came back to win.”
Chow Hoon started the rally in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, she hit a deep fly ball that was soon wrapped by the cold wind. Two North Monterey County outfielders raced to the ball but couldn’t corral it, and Chow Hoon raced all the way to third base.
Up came Bianca Kim, who hit a grounder to the North Monterey County third baseman. But there was no throw to first, and the Kim made it safely.
Usrey had a chance to end it, and she did. She hit a slow grounder to a North Monterey County infielder. Chow Hoon raced home and beat the throw there, setting off a wild celebration.
Garcia said rallying to win has been the norm for the Spartans, who have played close encounters at the beginning of the season.
The home team stared down a 3-0 deficit this time and rallied.
In the bottom of the third, Marielle Tuazon reached on a single, putting runners on first and second; Chow Hoon had reached on an error previously but was later erased on a fielder’s choice forceout hit by Kim.
With a chance to get Seaside on the board with two outs, Usrey delivered, hitting a single to plate Tuazon and cut Seaside’s deficit to 3-1.
Seaside hoped for another chance to cut into the lead, and it came in the sixth.
With one out, Lelei Hernandez hit a single to centerfield. Kaitlyn Hernandez came up and the slugger went the other way, hitting a ball that cut through the wind and over the right-field fence for a two-run home run to tie the game at 3-3.
“We were hoping for that hit to get us back, and fortunately K.K. got us back into the game with the home run,” Garcia said.
North Monterey County, which had scored more than 10 runs against Seaside in the teams’ previous two encounters, looked poised to do the same, if the third inning was any indication.
In that third inning, eight batters went to the plate as the Condors scored three runs with two outs to take a 3-0 lead.
The first big hit came from Kimberly Eaton, who destroyed a pitch to left field for a triple, bringing home Sydney Wilson and Kayla Dunlap to give the Condors a 2-0 advantage. Cori Key was the next batter up, and she hit a grounder that ate up a Seaside infielder, allowing Wilson to come home safely on the error for the Condors’ third run.
North Monterey County coach Aaron Daniels told his players to stay aggressive despite leading 3-0 at that time.
“In the fifth, I told them that they had a couple more chances to hit, because three wasn’t going to be enough against this team,” Daniels said.
The Condors had baserunners in every inning after the third. But be it a key strikeout or a slick fielding play by Seaside, the Condors were denied a chance to get another run.
“We get to play them one more time, and the players will be hungry to face them again,” Daniels said.
Seaside plays in the Watsonville Tournament today, while North Monterey County returns to action Wednesday at home against Watsonville.