Patriots rebound for softball win

Liberty’s softball team hasn’t had much practice bouncing back from a loss.

The Patriots would like to keep it that way, but they showed Tuesday that rebounding from a difficult game is one of the team’s many strengths.

After an 11-2 loss to Vista (Calif.) in a morning game at the Charger Invitational at West Flamingo Park, Liberty refocused and beat nemesis Las Vegas 7-4 in a Bronze Bracket quarterfinal.

“We’ve just tried to keep a more positive approach with the girls,” Liberty coach Kris Jensen said. “We just focused more on this game and what we needed to do to win. We shouldn’t be able to tell intensity-wise if we’re up or down (in a game). We should just always be up.”

It’s a philosophy that helped Liberty improve to 13-2 and never trail in the evening game against the Wildcats, who eliminated Liberty from the Sunrise Region playoffs last year.

Rhiannon Beck set a tone by leading off the game with a single and scoring on Carson Cooper’s sacrifice fly, and Liberty responded by scoring in each half inning after Las Vegas scored.

After the Wildcats scored twice in the bottom of the third to tie the game, Liberty answered with an RBI double by Megan Patras and a run-scoring single by Francesca Foti in the top of the fourth.

Las Vegas pulled within 4-3 in the fifth, but Liberty responded with three runs in the sixth, highlighted by Foti’s two-run single. Foti finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

“She’s been a leader through her play,” Jensen said. “When she goes, we all go.”

Cooper was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, and Patras went 2-for-3 with the RBI double.

Krizzel Galvez went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI for the Wildcats (8-6), and Monique Hernandez was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Despite finishing in a tie for first in its pool, Liberty was relegated to playing in the third-level bracket after losing a pool tiebreaker.

“We had one bad inning early today and now we’re in a third-place pool as a result,” Jensen said. “We took it all in stride. It’s a learning experience and an opportunity for us.”

Contact reporter Bartt Davis at bdavis@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5230.

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