BY MATT JOCKS
HEMET — One moment, Ivy Campbell had her teammates’ fate in her hands. The next, it seemed, she had her actual teammates in her face, on her back and anywhere else they could find to join the celebration.
In a seventh inning filled with drama Thursday, May 17, Campbell delivered the biggest moment. She doubled home the tying run and scored on Yvonne Sanchez’s single as Hemet rallied for four runs and a 5-4 victory over Anaheim Katella in a Division 5 first-round softball game.
When Campbell came to the plate, Hemet (18-8) trailed 4-2 with two runners aboard.
“I was so nervous,” she said. “It seemed like I had popped up every time. I wanted to do it for my grandpa (Bob McKee) who has cancer and he was over there watching me. I was actually shaking. I was saying, ‘I have to get a hit.’
A passed ball and wild pitch brought a run in and put the tying run at third but Campbell faced an 0-2 pitch before taking one and then lacing a double to the gap in left-center.
On a 1-1 pitch, Sanchez ended the game with a grounder to the hole, deflecting off the glove of shortstop Melissa Zuniga.
“I came into the dugout at the start of the inning,” Sanchez said, “and saw my catcher and I said, ‘Don’t you put your head down. It’s not over until the last out.’
“When Ivy got that hit, I’m going, ‘I love you, Ivy. You don’t even know.’ ”
Through five innings, the game was dominated by Hemet’s Cheyenne Gandara. She blasted a leadoff homer in the fourth and, in the pitcher’s circle, dominated. Entering the sixth, she had allowed two runners, one on a missed third strike, had retired 12 straight and struck out eight.
However, Katella (15-12) capitalized on two errors and a key single by Cassidy Valenzuela to take a 2-1 lead in the sixth. In the seventh, a two-out single by No. 9hitter Whitney Mesi and a home run by losing pitcher Erika Garcia set the stage for Hemet’s comeback.
After scoring the winning and run and seeing her jubilant teammates bearing down on her, Campbell said, “I was just ecstatic. I just didn’t even know what to do.”