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SUNRISE SOFTBALL: McFarland shakes off frustration, leads Falcons to title

Foothill center fielder Kelsey McFarland has been frustrated with her performance lately.

So frustrated, she’s even apologized to her team for the sub-par results.

But in the biggest moment of the season Saturday, McFarland delivered.

The senior smacked a two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh as the Falcons grabbed the Sunrise Region title with a 3-2 victory over visiting Coronado.

It appeared the Cougars (23-16-1) were going to force an second game, as Coronado’s Danielle Amato hit a bloop two-run single in the top of the seventh to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

However, the Falcons (20-13) answered the challenge, as Daryan Meade opened the seventh with a single. Meade went to second on a passed ball and went to third on Hannah Stevens’ infield hit. Stevens took second on a defensive indifference.

After Vanessa Parrales grounded to second, McFarland ripped an Amato pitch off the left-field wall, and the celebration began.

“All I wanted to do was put a good swing on the ball,” McFarland said. “I took a deep breath and stayed patient. When I saw it go into the gap, I knew we would score both runs. It’s not just me, it was a total team effort.”

McFarland surely did her part, driving in all three Foothill runs. Her two-out single in the fifth brought in Alexia Campbell, and gave Foothill its first lead at 1-0.

“We usually have to fight in this tournament, not playing from the undefeated side,” Foothill coach Tom Mayes said. “It was a special effort by the girls, and they stayed focused especially once we fell behind. It’s a great feeling knowing you are going to state.”

Down 1-0, Coronado made the most of its final at-bat. Dylan Underwood drew a walk off Foothill’s Sarah Penksa. After Lauren Buck struck out, Jaiden Johnson walked, and the Cougars had two runners on base for only the second time in the game.

Brooke Younie moved the runners to second and third with a ground-out. Amato then blooped a single over the outstretched glove of second baseman Campbell and Coronado led, 2-1.

“Danielle has been clutch all year,” Coronado coach Melissa Kruger said. “This team doesn’t quit, and its led by the example of our seniors. Danielle is what Coronado softball is all about. But this hurts, that we came really close.”

Penksa scattered six singles in seven innings to grab the win. The sophomore pitcher walked, both in the seventh, and struck out two.

Amato was the tough-luck loser, allowing six hits as well. Basia Query had three hits for Coronado, which missed a great scoring chance in the opening inning as the Cougars loaded the bases with two outs. But Katie Dawson grounded out, ending the threat.

Campbell had one of just two extra base hits in the game, a leadoff triple to open the Foothill third. But Amato retired the next three hitters in order, and the game remained scoreless.

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