Erica Morris
ASU Student Journalist

Walk-off score lifts Bourgade Catholic past Camp Verde

March 23, 2019 by Erica Morris, Arizona State University

Bourgade Catholic senior Olivia Sitcler bats during a 15-14 win against Camp Verde. (Photo: Erica Morris/AZSports365))

In a back-and-forth contest Saturday afternoon, which had three lead changes and two ties, the Golden Eagles defeated the Camp Verde Cowboys (7-5, 2-0), 15-14.

“It was the best feeling in the world to go 10 innings and win it all,” freshman outfielder Alize Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez hit a single that was boggled by Camp Verde’s first baseman, which allowed Bourgade Catholic’s senior utility player, Olivia Sitcler, to score the game-winning run.

“I knew what I had to do, I knew I needed to score,” Sitcler said. “I knew when Alize hit it, I’m running.”

Sitcler played aggressively in the bottom of the tenth, stealing second and third base to help set up the final play.

“You have to play to the best of your ability," Stitcler said. "One mess-up could be the end of the game for you, but we played really tough, both mentally and physically.” 

The Golden Eagles fell behind early as Camp Verde scored four runs in the first inning.

Bourgade Catholic head coach Michael Espinoza remained confident that his team wouldn’t panic and let the game slip away.

“We got this, we will be alright,” Espinoza told his team. “Just keep chipping away at them, just keep chipping away.”

Bourgade Catholic tied the game, 4-4, in the second inning, but the lead was regained by Camp Verde as the Cowboys were able to consistently get runners on base and take advantage of the Golden Eagles’ errors.

Though the Golden Eagles scored two runs in the fourth, the Cowboys held a 11-6 lead.

The momentum shifted when Bourgade Catholic scored six runs in the fifth to take their first lead of the game, 12-11.

“We battled all game,” Espinoza said. “[Camp Verde] wanted it, they battled for it, but we fought for it and good things happen when you do that.”

At the top of the sixth inning, the Golden Eagles halted a three-run inning by the Cowboys, who extended their lead to 14-12, with an out called at home plate.

Camp Verde’s second baseman, Cassandra Casillas, was ejected from the game after she slid with her spikes up going towards home plate and ran into Bourgade Catholic’s catcher, Isabella Ramirez .

The call was met with controversy from the Cowboys and their fans.

“We don’t play malicious,” Camp Verde head coach Henry Smith said.

Smith said the umpire’s decision was “wrong,” calling the ruling a “big game-changer.”

“We had situations where she would’ve been in the lineup,” he said, “but because the ump made a bad call, she wasn’t able to get in and make the plays.”

Espinoza wasn’t aware of Casillas being ejected until the end of the game.

“I just saw that the girl was thrown out at home, she ran into our catcher and I left it at that,” he said.

The Golden Eagles tied the game once again after Camp Verde’s pitcher, Carlee Oesterreigh, hit two batters back-to-back in the seventh inning with the bases loaded.

Camp Verde ended Bourgade Catholic’s efforts on a flyout, forcing play into extra innings.

“We stayed steady,” Smith said. “Carly [Oesterreigh] was able to throw all seven innings and then take us into extra innings against a solid team.”

With the victory, the Golden Eagles proved they could win a close game, something Espinoza said the team got “tired” of not being able to pull off.

“Today, it came together.” Espinoza said. “It’s always good to win a close game. Their confidence is just going to soar.”

The Golden Eagles' next game will be a conference match-up against the Valley Christian Trojans (1-10, 0-0) on Tuesday.