The event had community written all over it, but the second Charity Softball Game between the Patterson Lions and Patterson Rotary clubs had an ending befitting a World Series.
Carlos Medina’s two-out, game-winning single to center field capped a two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Rotary a dramatic 10-9 win against the Lions on Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic School’s playing field.
Lions Club baserunner Rob Cozart slightly overruns second base, just as the Rotary Club’s Sand Mullen reaches for the ball in their annual charity softball game Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic School. Cozart would make it back to the bag in time. Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
“I knew it’d be a close game,” said Rotary coach Charlie Cantu, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a single. “Carlos came up with a big hit. That’s the guy you want to be batting in the lineup. It’s just clutch hitting.”
Game proceeds benefited the ongoing bleacher replacement project at Patterson Community Stadium.
In addition to those playing in the softball match, several individuals and groups contributed to the festivities.
Dave Santos served as announcer, and local Girl Scouts volunteered in the concessions and recreation areas. Patterson High athletic director Dave Klein officiated the contest, along with his daughter and son-in-law, Jennifer and Josh Hamm.
The Lions fought tooth and nail to reverse last year’s 37-17 loss to Rotary in the inaugural game. And with a fresh infusion of youth and athleticism, they came within an out of the title.
For seven of the game’s nine innings, though, it looked as if Rotary would repeat last year’s feat.
Rotary raced to a 4-0 lead with five hits in the first inning, including a two-run triple from Medina that capped three straight hits.
The Lions got a huge boost from speed demon Stephen Perez’s inside-the-park home run in the second inning. Then, Rotary countered with a run on Patrick Sweeney’s RBI groundout later that inning to make it 5-1.
Spirit: The local Lions Club, determined to give it all they’ve got, cheer as they break to begin the last inning. Rotary ended up winning the game the second year in a row, 10-9. Elias Funez/Patterson Irrigator
Rotary added three more runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to lead 8-1. A triple from Cantu, an RBI single from Faria, and another triple from Medina, who was 4-for-4 with three RBIs, highlighted the surge.
After scoring two runs in the fifth inning, the Lions roared back in the eighth inning on RBI singles from Jerry Hoxie and John Wong and a two-run error that cut Rotary’s lead to just 8-7.
Then, after Rotary stalled in its half of the eighth, the Lions engineered a rally in the top of the ninth inning.
With two outs, Sarah Bogetti belted an RBI single over the reach of Carlos Medina’s leaping stab at shortstop to tie the game. Scott Raley followed with a single, beating the throw to first base, and the Lions promptly led 9-8.
But Rotary, facing a one-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning, was down but not out. The leadoff batter, Sweeney, reached third base on a fielding error, and two ground outs set the stage for Rotary’s dramatic comeback.
With two outs, Gallo MacMaster reached first base on a throwing error, allowing Sweeney to score and tie the game, 9-9.
Rotary president Sand Mullen doubled, and Cantu was intentionally walked, giving Medina his fourth at-bat of the game.
On a 2-2 pitch, Medina drilled a single up the middle to score Mullen.
“All I was trying to do was score the guys on base and do my best,” Medina said. He added, with a laugh, “I had the peanut gallery heckling me. I was enjoying it. I was going to right field when I noticed a big gap up the middle. It was a great game.”
Although the outcome wasn’t what he had in mind, Lions president Claude “Oklahoma” Mills relished the opportunity to play in a fun-filled charity contest that drew more than 150 onlookers.
“This was a great way for the city of Patterson to come out and support the two clubs,” said Mills, who also congratulated Rotary on its win. “That’s very important for the community to come together. The two clubs are here for the community.”
As for next year — well, Mills still figures the Lions will get their chance at victory.
“Maybe next year it will be an 11-10 score,” Mills said, grinning. “Maybe then we’ll get a chance to win the trophy.”
To reach Play Editor Mike Vanden Bosch at the Irrigator, call 892-6187 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.