A roller coaster ride. Breakdown of Sam Houston’s path through the Bearkat Classic.

Photo by Brisenia Flores

Sam Houston Bearkat softball kicked off Thursday as the Bearkat Classic was held.

The Bearkats faced five different opponents from different conferences.

Here is a recap of what happened over the four days.

Game 1: University of Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners

Bearkat softball season starts in full swing with a walk-off 3-run home run by junior infielder Kylie Hobbs to win it against the UTSA Roadrunners 11-10 Thursday night.

It was a roller coaster of a game.

The Bearkats found themselves down 1-0 early against the Roadrunners after a run-batted-in single by UTSA freshman outfielder Lilly Hood at the top of the first inning.

The deficit was quickly erased when Bearkat sophomore two-way player Brailey Wasik hit a solo homer in the next half inning.

Sophomore infielder Camryn Robillard then gave the Roadrunners the lead back with a sacrifice fly in the second inning.

Wasik then tied the game up again with a sacrifice fly of her own in the third inning.

She would finish the game 1-for-2 with two RBI’s.

The Bearkats then went on to take their first lead of the ball game with a RBI single by sophomore infielder Tricia Yarotsky that scored sophomore outfielder Haleigh Carter who hit a triple.

Junior outfielder Ellie Grill would then make it 4-2 Sam Houston with a RBI triple.

However, UTSA took control and scored eight runs.

Half of the barrage of runs came in the fifth inning from a solo homer from freshman infielder Kylie Forney, a RBI single by sophomore outfielder Emily Dear, a RBI single by Ciarra Mata and Robillard scoring on an error.

It made it 6-4 UTSA.

What was supposedly the killer was a 3-run home run from Erykah Guerrero at the top of the seventh inning.

Along with a RBI walk by sophomore infielder Sophie Campbell later on the game was now seemingly unreachable with the Roadrunners up 10-4 heading to the bottom of the seventh.

After a Wasik walk to begin the inning, sophomore outfielder Brodie Quinlan hit a 2-run shot straightaway center to make it 10-6.

After the first out of the inning from a lineout by sophomore infielder Elia Hebel, Bearkat newcomer junior transfer catcher Julia Herzinger came in for a pinch hit appearance and walked on four pitches.

Haleigh Carter then reached on a fielder’s choice. The Bearkats down four runs now had only one out to work with.

Yarotsky then hit her first collegiate home run the next at bat as her shot brought the Bearkats within two runs at 10-8.

UTSA then switched pitchers.

Sophomore outfielder then came in for her own pinch hit appearance and doubled to left field.

Junior outfielder Ellie Grill then hit a single.

Then with a no ball one strike count with two outs, Kylie Hobbs sends one to Bearkat Boulevard to walk it off.

The crowd went wild as the Bearkats secured the Opening Day win.

Head coach Garrett Valis was praised his team for staying composed.

“They didn’t get flustered, I think the maturity of kids that are now sophomores that got to play a lot last year and got kind of thrown into the fire showed up a little bit today,” said Valis.

One thing that helped the Bearkats was senior transfer pitcher Daryn Grams coming in with runners on base in the seventh inning and getting two quick outs without further damaged when the Roadrunners hit the 10-run mark.

With Hobbs walking it off it gave Grams the win and Valis had high praises for the transfer from San Jacinto College.

“She’s just super mature and nothing bothers her,” Valis added.

Someone else that was not bothered in the big moment was Kylie Hobbs.

“I was like, okay just got the job done for my teammates,” Hobbs said.

For Hobbs it is all about staying calm in those moments.

“I just try to like take control of my breathing and think about all the preparation and just know that I been here before and I can do it again and not let the moment get bigger than what it is,” the infielder said.

Game 2: Virginia Cavaliers

The next day the Bearkats had two games.

Their first opponent would be Atlantic Coast Conference member Virginia.

The Cavaliers were in the middle of a break in of the Houston Tournament. They were coming in with a 1-0 record after beating the Lamar Cardinals 5-0.

They also had an incomplete game that was paused on Thursday and then resumed on Saturday which they would beat the Houston Cougars 14-7.

The Cavaliers came into Huntsville, Texas, and took care of business against the Bearkats as they won 3-0.

Virginia struck first in the first inning with a solo home run by sophomore utility player Sarah Coon.

Junior utility Cavalier Leah Boggs would then hit a RBI single in the third inning and senior infielder Katie Goldberg hit a RBI double in the seventh inning.

Sam Houston’s offense almost 12 hours ago was not present as they only amassed three hits as a team.

The pitching, however, was on point. It is a big question mark on this team.

Junior pitcher Mika Vento went six innings of 2-run ball with four strikeouts.

Grams pitched the seventh inning and gave up one run with two strikeouts.

Game 3: Delaware Blue Hens

A couple hours after the loss against the Cavaliers the Bearkats would go on to face the Delaware Blue Hens.

The Blue Hens were coming off a good win against the Roadrunners earlier in the day.

This meeting marked the first time the schools met each other on the softball diamond.

Delaware would run away with the win as they run-ruled the Bearkats in six innings 11-1.

The lone Bearkat run came on an RBI groundout by Julia Herzinger.

The one inning that did it was the top of the sixth where the Blue Hens scored six runs.

The Bearkats also committed two errors that inning which was half of the total errors of four.

Game 4: South Dakota State Jackrabbits

Saturday just contained one game for Sam Houston as they faced the Jackrabbits who were coming in from the Houston Invitational.

The offense went quiet again as Jackrabbit junior pitcher Tori Kniesche no hit the Bearkats.

The only baserunners Kniesche allowed was a walk to Quinlan and a hit-by-pitch against Jordan Peno.

The Bearkats fielding gave up two errors.

But it goes without saying that the pitching for Sam Houston was good.

Brailey Wasik in her first start of the season went five innings of 1-run ball with four strikeouts.

Grams pitched the two remaining innings and gave up one run.

Game 5: Northwestern State Lady Demons

The final game of the Bearkat Classic overall was Sam Houston against Northwestern State.

Despite losing three straight there was still the fight. For how small the bleachers are at the Bearkat Softball Complex, there were Bearkat fans by the dozens to cheer on the team.

Emma Guindon and Lady Demon redshirt sophomore pitcher Maggie Darr had a duel.

Darr was the one to give in first as she faced Kylie Hobbs with Ellie Grill at second base in the first inning.

Hobbs drilled a double to right-centerfield to give the Bearkats the 1-0 lead early.

Guindon would then make a mistake in the third inning by leaving one over the plate for sophomore utility player Derika Castillo to send over the the left field wall to make it 1-1.

Both pitchers would go the whole way.

Guindon was facing tough situations every now and then but would get out of those via groundball outs as junior infielder Emily Telg was having a good performance at shortstop.

“She’s our heart beat of the infield,” Valis said.

Freshman infielder Kylie Bishop also was having a good defensive game as she made her first collegiate start at third base.

“She’s a very good defensive player, she plays with a lot of energy,” said Coach Valis.

Outstanding defense and pitching from Sam Houston helped the offensive stagnancy that was going on that would ultimately send the game to the bottom of the seventh still with a 1-1 tie.

Quinlan then stepped up to the batters’ box.

The sophomore then sent the first pitch she saw over the right field wall to walk it off for the Bearkats against the Lady Demons 2-1.

“I was really just trying to put the ball in play, pass the bat down to my teammates,” Quinlan said.

It was also the talk beforehand with Valis that helped her that the coach called “a tough conversation.”

It was also a win that capped off what Vlais called an emotional 24 hours.

“We’ve had some things happened just uncontrollable circumstances and I think our group handled it well,” Valis said.

Guindon threw a complete game just allowing one run, three hits and three walks.

“Our pitching staff has come back,” Valis on the pitching performances.

With the end of the Bearkat Classic the Bearkats go 2-3.

“Just excited to get two wins at home,” Valis would add.

Sam Houston will now look forward to the North Texas Tournament up in Denton, Texas, to face another multitude of teams from Friday to Sunday.

Two games against the South Dakota State Coyotes, University of Texas-Arlington Mavericks, No. 24 team in the country and host North Texas Mean Green and the No. 16 team in the country Kentucky Wildcats.

First game is Friday at 4:00 p.m. CT against the Coyotes.

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