It was a day to remember for Santa Fe senior pitcher Shelbi Sunseri, as she recorded her 1,000th career strikeout and blasted a grand slam while leading the Lady Indians to an 11-3 win over the Texas City Lady Stings in District 23-5A action Monday.
Leading off the top of the fourth inning, Texas City second baseman Brooke Howard made Sunseri work for it, but a swing and a miss on a 2-2 pitch resulted in the milestone-making strikeout and the achievement of a four-year goal.
“I knew that I was getting close, but I don’t really keep up with that kind of stuff,” Sunseri said. “It’s a goal that I set my freshman year. Me and my dad came up with a number that we both thought I could achieve, and to know that I achieved it my senior year is pretty great.”
Sunseri got Santa Fe off to a fast start with her bat in the bottom of the first. A leadoff walk to shortstop Morgan Childs, left fielder Summer Syers reaching safely on a fielder’s choice and center fielder Stephanie Reed getting hit by a pitch loaded the bases, and then Sunseri clubbed a line drive grand slam to right field for a 4-0 lead.
“I was just looking for my pitch,” Sunseri said. “I knew she was throwing a lot outside, so I kind of scooted up on the plate and was just looking for that perfect outside pitch that I felt like I could drive. And she gave it to me, and I took advantage of it.”
Texas City cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the second, but Santa Fe put up a five-spot in the bottom half of the inning to take control of the game.
Lady Stings third baseman Jade Arroyo got a leadoff single and eventually scored on an error at catcher, and then center fielder Sydney Moore smacked a single to left field to drive in left fielder Lily Reid, who reached base on a walk.
A two-run single by Reed and a sacrifice fly RBI by first baseman Michelle Owens put Santa Fe in front, 7-2. Reed then eventually scored on a wild pitch, and a bloop single by catcher Emily Evans plated courtesy runner Sierra Cothern, running for Sunseri after she was walked.
In what was shaping up to be a run-ruled game, the Lady Indians’ bats got quiet after the big five-run inning. Santa Fe’s other two runs came in the bottom of the third after second baseman Miranda Trigo reached on an error and worked her way around the bases before stealing home, and then in the bottom of the sixth off an error.
“Toward the beginning of the game, we hit the ball hard, we did a lot of good things offensively, and then we kind of coasted,” Roberts said. “We left the bases loaded a few times, we started popping the ball up instead of hitting line drives, but you can’t complain when your team puts 11 runs on the board.”
Texas City scored its final run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by first baseman Kelsey Boone, plating shortstop Alexa Mull after she led off with a single.
After a full game Monday, Santa Fe (5-0 in district) turns right around for a tough game 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Galena Park (4-1).
“I wish it would’ve been finished early, but at the same time, we got to see some situations and learn from some things today,” Roberts said.
Texas City (2-2) tries to bounce back 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at home against Fort Bend Willowridge (1-4).