Hornets come back in thrilling fashion to steal a victory over Vikings

Fullerton trailed late, but with their backs against the wall, they performed in the clutch, grabbing their first win of a double header.
Fullerton freshman pitcher Macy Brandl steps in the circle in the second inning and faced big moments in the game in an 8-6 win over Long Beach City College on Feb. 16, 2024.
Fullerton freshman pitcher Macy Brandl steps in the circle in the second inning and faced big moments in the game in an 8-6 win over Long Beach City College on Feb. 16, 2024.
Danielle Rivera

The Hornets showed true heart and grit against the Vikings on Friday, Feb. 16 while being behind at home. However, there was one lone hero for the Hornets and that was freshman first baseman Veronica Moore, who came up with the game-winning hit to give the Hornets the win, 8-6.

Moore is batting .400 on the year and went 3-3 in this game. Head coach Speedy Mendoza credited Moore for coming up huge all year long.

“I was just trying to stay calm, because we knew coming into today that it was going to be a battle. Just remaining calm at the plate allowed me to see the ball really well and perform the way I did,” said Moore.

Freshman Veronica Moore throws up a celebration to her team after getting a single to start off the fifth inning on Feb. 16, 2024. (Danielle Rivera)

Entering the bottom of the 6th inning, Fullerton trailed by three runs. From the stands, it was clear sophomore second baseman Jordan Elias was stepping up and leading her team on with a powerful message.

With the bases juiced and just one out, in came sophomore outfielder Madison Gonzalez who had just three at-bats on the season. Gonzalez roped a single the opposite way that scored sophomore catcher Serina Vue and moved everyone up a station.

Next up for Fullerton was Elias, and she capitalized on her end for the team, punching nearly the same exact hit into left field as Gonzalez’s hit. This made the score 6-5 with still one out. Bases still loaded.

Sophomore outfielder Haley Garcia grounded out in the next at-bat but it was productive, tying up the game and setting the scene for Moore.

With pressure being at an all-time high in this moment, things slowed down for Moore and after battling with Vikings freshman pitcher Bayleigh Fry, she was able to smoke a line drive right up the middle that slipped just under the glove of Vikings freshman center fielder Robin Garcia. This allowed both runners on base to score, which put the Hornets in front, 8-6. That hit capped off a five run inning for Fullerton.

“My mindset coming up to the plate that at-bat was just telling myself that I have been on her all game, it’s nothing new,” said Moore. “She is going to pitch me the same thing and to not change my swing or to not get any anxiety about the pitch and do what I know I can do.”

Hornets freshman pitcher Macy Brandl set down the first two hitters in the final frame before giving up a single, but ultimately it did not come back to bite the Hornets as she got the last batter to ground out, putting the nail in the coffin and solidifying an outstanding win for Fullerton.

After a dominating top of the first inning by sophomore pitcher Allyson Fuentes, the Hornets (5-2) came up to bat on fire. Elias and Garcia were able to reach base safely on two infield singles before Moore hit a sacrifice bunt.

Next, freshman shortstop Miranda Pozos seized the opportunity with two on, as she delivered a ripping single that scored two runs to give Fullerton the early 2-0 lead.

After a groundout by Vue that moved Pozos up a base, sophomore outfielder Coco Siono then proceeded to hit a single into left center to add onto the early lead. Sophomore outfielder Alyssa Garcia struck out to end the frame.

Sophomore Madison Gonzalez celebrates with her team after driving in Serina Vue to keep the rally alive in the bottom of the sixth inning. (Danielle Rivera)

In sports, you can never be too comfortable with a lead and the Vikings proved that when they came roaring back in the top of second and loaded up the bases on Fuentes.

Vikings freshman Jaiden Lopez came up to bat and drew an impressive walk that got the Vikings on the scoreboard, which led to Fuentes getting pulled after just one plus innings.

In came Brandl, and she was put into an intense situation out of the bullpen. She was able to strike out the first batter, but Garcia knocked in a pair in the next at-bat that tied everything up. The head scratching decision was compounded by the result. What could be the motive behind pulling your ace in that kind of situation?

“You know, I think her (Fuentes) pitches weren’t moving too much so we wanted to give Brandl an opportunity. She throws a little bit harder. We wanted to give Fuentes an opportunity to work on some pitches,” said Mendoza. “Macy kind of just hung strong and we felt like staying with her.”

Both offenses went radio silent until the top of the fourth inning where the Vikings high powered offense woke up once again. After a leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt that moved the runner up a base, Lopez came up to bat and reached first on a throwing error by Vue that led to a run to give the Vikings a 4-3 lead.

Sophomore Jordan Elias covers second base for Vue attempting to throw out a Vikings base runner. (Danielle Rivera )

Vikings freshman shortstop Xiomei Geluz came up clutch, knocking in Lopez which extended the lead. After another base hit, freshman infielder Anaya Togia hit a sacrifice fly that plated another Viking, putting them up three to end the inning.

For Fullerton, Fuentes (1-1) went just one inning giving up a hit and issuing one walk. Brandl (3-1) got the win and went six innings allowing six runs, four of which were earned, eight hits, and giving up two walks, but on a bright note had seven strikeouts.

Long Beach City College (6-4) stuck with Fry (0-1) the whole way through, as she had all six innings of work, allowing eight runs, all of which were earned, giving up 12 hits, walking two, and striking out three Hornets.

This was the first game of a double header for the Hornets as they took on San Diego Mesa in the next matchup, winning that one as well with a score of 4-1. Brandl pitched a gem going six full innings and grabbing her fourth win of the year.

The Hornets buzz their way down south to face the undefeated Palomar Comets (8-0) at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.

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    Cynthia WilliamsFeb 17, 2024 at 6:47 pm

    So extremely proud of Veronica Moore and her teammates! Congratulations!