BARSTOW Hannah Ulibarri stood hunched over, smiling and surrounded by teammates at home plate after rounding the bases on a perceived home run to tie the game.

The celebration didn't last long. The Barstow High School freshman pitcher was sent back like it never it happen.
Later, Nicole Mathews made her way home from third base on a pass ball to tie the game for the Barstow High School softball team (5-6; 2-2 Desert Sky League).

The sophomore outfielder was sent back like it never it happen.

That tying score never came for the Aztecs in a 2-1 loss against Burroughs on Wednesday afternoon. The entire game was a like a desert mirage for the Aztecs, and they probably wish they could claim as much on their record.

But after compiling 13 runs in less than three innings on Friday versus Granite Hills, the Aztecs struggled to hit Wednesday afternoon. The Aztecs collected just five hits against a Burroughs (1-3 DSL) they scored 10 runs against earlier this season. The teams will rematch at 3:30 p.m. Friday in Ridgecrest.

"We chased bad pitches," Barstow assistant coach Frank Maldonado said. Coach Daron Banks was absent from the game. "For one, thing we took them too lightly because of last time. The girls thought they were just going to do the same thing and it didn't work."

Barstow scored first when Serena Winston hit a triple to bring home Keona Duran in the bottom of the second inning. Burroughs tied the score in the top of the third inning. The Burros took the lead for good in the fifth inning when the Aztecs misjudged a rolling ball in the outfield and the Burroughs hitter scored.

The Aztecs had several opportunities at the tying run, but could never officially score it.
In the fifth inning, Ulibarri dropped a hit perfectly down the first-base line and deep into the Aztecs' open right field. Briefly the score even showed 2-2 on the score board.

However, the ball rolled into foul territory and Ulibarri's hit was ruled a ground-rule double.

Ulibarri eventually made it to third and tried to tie the game when Nicole Ulivarri hit a ball right at the Burroughs' third baseman. The third baseman was temporarily stunned and Ulibarri took off for home. The third baseman regrouped quickly enough to toss the ball to home and get Ulibarri out. Maldonado said they should have held Ulibarri at third.

Mathews was stalled at third base just an inning later. After walking to lead off the inning, Mathews moved to second on a bunt and to third off an infield pop up. Mathews appeared to score the elusive tying run on a pass ball. However, it was ruled a foul ball.

"The ball never hit the bat," Maldonado said. "It hit the catcher in the helmet. The umpire thought it hit the bat and it didn't. That should have tied the game."

Barstow was kept off balance by freshman pitcher Cierra Carreno throughout the day. Carreno never overpowered the Aztecs but mixed up pitches enough. She struck out nine and gained confidence with each inning, Burroughs coach Cathy Paiz said.

"I'll be honest with you, I was little bit nervous," Paiz said. "We've never been in a close game like this where it comes down to the bottom of the seventh. Any typical freshman would be nervous and butterflies but she went out there like she's been doing this a long time."

Granite Hills game delayed again
The Aztecs won't make up the rest of their suspended game against Granite Hills today. Barstow was leading the game 13-4 with no runners on and no outs in the bottom of the third inning.

Williams said there is still a debate between the schools as to whether the game should be restarted or picked up where it ended. The CIF-Southern Section will make a final ruling.

Burroughs 001 010 0 2 4 1
Barstow 010 000 0 1 5 1

Carreno and Cope; Ulibarri, Hernandez and Schreiner. WP Carreno. LP Ulibarri. 2B Ulibarri. 3B Winston.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4124 or
mpeters@desertdispatch.com