It's not the ideal way to get back to the state finals, but the Pearland Oilers will take it. While locked in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday, Megan Coronado scampered home when Lewisville Hebron's pitcher uncorked a wild pitch. From the Chronicle's game recap:
"I opened my eyes and saw that the catcher was upset when I slid home," said Coronado, who was on base because of a Hebron fielding error. "I knew I had made it and we got the run. We needed it because we weren't getting hits."
Pearland advances to the championship game at 8 p.m. Saturday. This is the second straight season the Oilers have made the finals. Last season, they lost to Smithson Valley 1-0.
More softball games end 1-0 than you would think in high school. It's a sport where good pitchers can dominate, but in high school, it's even more pronounced. That's due in large part to the pitching circle being closer to the plate. Two good pitchers like Pearland's Jessica Bowden and Hebron's Heather Stearns can shut down the best hitters, which is why things like slap hits, bunts and base stealing is so important.
In college, the circle moves back to 43 feet from home plate. Hitters like Texas A&M's freshman sensation Megan May goes from being a so-so hitter at Klein Oak last year to being one of the top home run hitters in the country.
After watching a softball game last year, I had the epiphany that today's game must be what baseball during the Deadball Era of 1900 to 1920 must've resembled. It was small ball to the extreme, with slap hitters making long careers for themselves and home runs being pretty rare. Looking at the way Pearland won, I'm reminded how apt that comparison was.