Even though Rampart pitcher Alyssa McDowell felt some nerves with the game on the line against host Vista Ridge, her coach didn't bat an eye.
"I knew she would get a strikeout or a flyout or a groundout," Rams coach Becki Pepper said. "I knew she would end it."
And for the 10th time this season, McDowell did just that. Thursday, the sophomore pitcher outdueled The Gazette preps player of the week Kellie Mrofcza, as she threw her latest complete game of the season by getting Wolves' Cheyenne Herrera to pop out in foul territory with runners on second and third base to close the book on the 3-1 victory.
"Alyssa was great today. She had command and worked well out there," said Pepper, who has had McDowell go the distance in every game this season. "She's been great all year."
Really though, McDowell wasn't the only one to come up big for Rampart (8-2). The frame before McDowell closed it, Kelli Warmouth tripled in the eventual game-winning run to make it 2-1 in the top of the seventh, and catcher Kara Jones provided the insurance with an RBI single a batter later.
Down 3-1, Vista Ridge (5-7) wouldn't go quietly though. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, McDowell gave up a walk followed by a pop-up the shortstop lost in the sun, which eventually left two runners in scoring position for Herrera.
"I was really nervous, but Kara (Jones) settled me down and called a great game," said McDowell, who jammed Herrera on a 2-2 pitch to end the 1-hour, 48-minute game. "Sure sometimes we fight like sisters out there, but I love her and can always count on her. And my defense too - they got me out of trouble a bunch today."
Meanwhile, her offense did enough to push her over the top. No, the Rampart bats couldn't do a lot Thursday, but they took advantage of a couple of mistakes by Mrofcza and the two errors by Vista Ridge's defense her to help give the Rams their sixth win in a row.
"Rampart stayed patient throughout the game and got just a couple pitches to hit hard," said Vista Ridge coach Summer Coombs of Mrofcza, who still had 11 strikeouts and only two walks to go in her complete-game loss. "Besides that, Kellie was great and so was the defense behind her. If we can play like that we'll finish the way we want to this season."
Earlier, Jenna Malone walked to drive in the first run of the game for the Rams before Ashli Mauermann singled in the Wolves' lone run to tie the game in the second inning.
Next up, Rampart faces Palmer Ridge on Sept. 14 while Vista Ridge hosts Discovery Canyon on Monday.