For many people, turning 18 means getting the freedom to buy a lottery ticket, vote in the next election, or heck, rent a Porta Potty. For Davis High senior Kaitlyn Grim, it meant leading her team to a softball victory with her first home run at the varsity level.
Grim’s titanic shot on her landmark birthday Friday ignited a huge comeback for the Blue Devils, who erupted for five runs to tie the game in the fifth inning. The contest stayed tied all the way into the ninth inning before Haley Cameron scored on a sacrifice fly by Rita Allen-Sutter to give DHS a 6-5 victory over Rocklin.
But early on, it wasn’t much of a celebration for Grim and the Devils (11-6, 7-1). The Davis right-hander was roughed up on the mound for five runs in the first three innings, and the Devil hitters mustered only two hits before Grim’s moon shot.
Becky Nakano relieved Grim in the sixth, and kept the Thunder (2-17, 1-7) at bay with four shutout innings. Nakano allowed just three hits in her time in the circle, and was aided by the standout play of sophomore catcher Stephanie Cello.
“Kudos to Becky … and Stephanie,” said DHS assistant coach David Reuben. “As a sophomore who hasn’t caught a lot for us this year, though she’s caught in the past, I thought she did an outstanding job.”
Grim’s fifth-inning solo shot alone wasn’t enough for the Blue Devils to jump back into the game, but Davis’ offense had finally gotten the breakthrough it needed. After the homer, Cello walked and Sydney Rosenblum laid down a sacrifice bunt that was overthrown for a two-base error.
A groundout by Megan Winton and a double by Cameron brought home both runners, and suddenly it was a 5-3 ball game.
“The fact that we got a run on the board really lit a spark offensively,” Grim said. “We were able to focus less on ‘we can’t let them score any more’ and more on just getting some runs of our own.”
Not done yet, DHS’ next batter, Melanie Habib, took a payoff pitch for ball four, then Nakano blasted a long drive off the top of the center field fence to tie the game. The Devils put runners in scoring position in each of the next three innings, but couldn’t seal the deal until they loaded the bases with one out in the ninth for Allen-Sutter’s fly.
Habib finished 2-for-2 with two walks and a stolen base, but her defense was even better. The shortstop ranged far across the diamond to pull to make several plays, and by the end of the game her jersey had more dirt than an issue of Star magazine.
“Melanie made a superlative play diving for that line drive … you know, we just kind of take for granted that she’s going to make these kinds of plays, but they are very difficult plays to make,” Reuben said. “Without a doubt, she’s one of the best defensive shortstops in Northern California.”
Cameron, Nakano and Brittney Bloomfield all doubled for DHS, and Cameron led the team with three hits. Cello and Winton chipped in singles as well.
Grim will pitch again Tuesday at home against Monterey Trail, a team the Blue Devils pounded 17-0 in the first meeting. After that matchup, Davis is at Elk Grove on Thursday before hosting Franklin on May 10, for the final game of the regular season.
If the standings hold, DHS will be the second-place team — behind the Thundering Herd — in the Delta Valley Conference heading into the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
— Reach Benjy Egel at firstname.lastname@example.org