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Story and photos by Liz Alper
Cover photo: Santana freshman Joey Barkhimer's solo homer in the sixth put the Sultans up by two until the Chieftains erased their lead in the very next inning.
May 7, 2018 (Santee) - In our first-ever trip to Santana High, ECM Sports got some softball action under our belt as the lady Sultans hosted the Clairemont Chieftains for a non-conference faceoff. The Sultans rock an impressive 18-8 record on the season. Junior Madison Mendez started on the hill for the Sultans against Jennee Brodeur for the Chieftains.
Both pitchers pitched a fantastic two innings, but in the third, the Sultans got things going. After Brodeur walked freshman Emma Leggett, fellow freshman Natalie Sims smacked a double into center to get runners on second and third. Sophomore Krysten Service finished the job neatly with an RBI single and the Sultans led 1-0.
The Sultans were cruising along just fine with a one-run lead until the sixth when freshman Joey Barkhimer blasted a homer over the right field wall to give the Sultans a 2-0 lead.
It looked like a sure win for Santana until the very next inning. With runners on first and second, Clairemont’s Maddy Jacobs absolutely crushed a home run to center field and just like that, the Chieftains jumped on top of the Sultans by a run. Erika Anders knocked an RBI base hit to left field that scored Ari Salazar and the Chieftains were up 4-2.
The Sultans wouldn’t go down without a fight. Mendez hit an RBI single in the home half of the seventh, but the Chieftains stopped the rally and mounted an impressive comeback to win it 4-3 and hand the Sultans an 18-9 record and just their second loss at home this season.
The Sultans will stay home and get back to Grossmont League play with a contest against Granite Hills on Wednesday. First pitch against the Eagles is set for 4:00 p.m.