It was VINTAGE San Pedro High softball... 2021 edition.
For the sixth time in the 21-year history of the Jim Robertson Memorial Alumni Field, the Pirates capped off a comeback against Marine League rival Carson with a walk-off hit to win it, but none was more wilder or more dramatic than what went down on Thursday in a battle for sole possession of first place between two undefeated teams coming into the contest.
Carson took control early with five runs in the top of the first inning, but slowly and surely, the Pirates chipped away and battled back time and time again, even when things continued to look bleak. Down 8-5 with three outs to go, San Pedro erupted with four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, capped off by a dramatic two-run walk-off home run by Bentley-bound second baseman Jordan 'Jo Jo' Krause to give the Pirates the heart-stopping 9-8 victory.
It was the second walk-off home run by the Pirates in seven days, with Krause's winning hit following Sierra Sandoval's grand slam to force the run rule clause in a 10-0 Marine League win over Gardena on April 29.
And to think this latest comeback almost didn't come to pass.
Two errors early in the first inning led to the Colts making the Pirates and Chaminade-bound pitcher Kirstin Sanchez pay for them... back-to-back home runs on back-to-back pitches by Mississippi State-bound third baseman Leilani Pulemau and senior pitcher Jaclyn Gonzalez, both coming with one out for the 5-0 lead which followed after one run scored on a passed ball two pitches before Pulemau's three-run shot.
San Pedro (6-0, 3-0) scratched a run in the bottom of the first when sophomore courtesy runner Marissa Markel scored on a passed ball, then the Pirates scored two more in the second on freshman right fielder Izabella Galan's RBI-single and a bases loaded drawn walk by Sanchez. An RBI-single by senior third baseman Sierra Sandoval in the bottom of the fourth brought the Pirates' even closer.
The last scoring threat by the Colts (5-1, 2-1) came in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out, but Sanchez induced a pop out to Krause before walking the next three batters to force home three more runs for an 8-4 lead, chasing her from the circle, then junior OF/P Vanessa Reed left the center field position to pitch the rest of the game, silencing the Colts' bats for the remainder of the contest for 2.1 scoreless innings.
Sanchez's RBI-groundout drove in a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut Carson's lead to 8-5, and kept the pressure on by putting two more runners in the bottom of the sixth in scoring position, but Gonzalez quelled the threat, also leaving the bases loaded twice in the second and third innings.
Once the bottom of the seventh came around, it was time for familiar Pirate softball last minute heroics.
Reed blasted her third hit of the game, a double to the right-center field fence to leadoff the inning, then she scored on a wind-aided triple to right field by Galan, who finished 4-for-4 with 2 RBIs. William Penn-bound left fielder Makayla Martinez slapped a gutsy drag bunt that somehow fell through for an infield single, plating Galan to once again draw the Pirates to within a run.
Sanchez popped out two pitches later, but on the very next pitch, Krause blasted Gonzalez's fastball offering just over the center field fence to set off yet another case of Pirate pandemonium.
As wild as that finish was, San Pedro and Carson will meet two more times on May 18 at Carson, and the Marine League finale at San Pedro on May 27. This game definitely won't decide the Marine League title outcome, but it definitely made the race to the top that much more treacherous for both schools.
Krause joins Jessica Robles, Holly Stevens, Hannah DeGaetano, Andrea Cline and Anessa Quiroz, all former CIF-Los Angeles City Section champions, in the list of Pirate softball on-campus walk-off heroes against Carson.