June 4, 2006 TUCSON, ARIZ The Arizona Heat won their first game of the season in dramatic fashion over the Texas Thunder. Trailing 4-2 in the seventh, the Heat bats came alive to score three runs and pick up the victory 5-4.
Christa Williams and Celena Velasquez once again squared off Sunday night with neither pitcher having their best stuff. They each went three innings with Williams surrendering two runs and Velasquez four. April Valdez came in to relieve Velasquez to start the fourth and shut the Thunder down for the final four innings. She allowed two hits and two walks in route to her first career victory.
Unlike the first three games of the series, the Heat got off to a fast start. Velasquez retired the Thunder in order in the first but Williams would not fair as well. Nichole Thompson led off with a single to left and Crystal Farley reached on an error to put two on base for the Heat. A walk to Heather Scaglione loaded the bases for Kaleo Eldredge. Eldredge, the only Heat player to hit in every game this series delivered a two-run single to left.
Velasquez retired the Thunder in the second without a threat and Williams did the same to the Heat thanks to a spectacular play by shortstop Adrian Gregory. With runners on second and third Gregory made a diving catch on a Farley line drive to save two runs.
The Texas bats woke up in the third. Kristen Zaleski started it off with a single and was followed with a single by Kim Nesloney. Velasquez walked Freed to load the bases for the Thunder cleanup hitter. Serena Settlemier stepped in a smashed a grand slam over the left field fence, giving the Thunder a 4-2 lead.
Williams and Freed combined to hold the Heat scoreless for the next three innings, pushing the game into the sixth with the score still 4-2. Valdez stayed on the mound for the Heat for the final four innings and did not allow a run to score.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Heat would have to face the Thunder offensive star Serena Settlemier. LaDonia Hughes led off the inning with a single off Settlemiers leg and Nichole Thompson beat out an infield hit to put two runners on. Crystal Farleys fielders choice moved both runners into scoring position for Toni Mascarenas. Mascarenas surprised everyone with a squeeze bunt single scoring Hughes and cutting the lead to one. After a Mascarenas steal put the winning run in scoring position, Scaglione chopped a grounder to shortstop. Shortstop Adrian Gregory did not have a play at home, and unleashed a wild throw to first which allowed Mascarenas to come around and score the winning run.
Kaleo Eldredge extended her hitting streak to four games with a two for two performance. She also laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt and drove in two runs. Nichole Thompson and LaDonia Hughes also delivered two hits a piece for the Heat.
Settlemier was once again the hitting star for the Thunder, connecting on her second homerun of the series and driving in four. Kim Nesloney added two hits and a stolen base for Texas.
The Heat will travel to Akron next week to face the Racers in a four game series starting Wednesday at 4:05 pacific time.
Contact: Scott Kimmelman, Media Relations, Arizona Heat
520.296.9595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org