Matanzas ace Madison Bodin led the Pirates to a 1-0 win over the rival Sandcrabs on Tuesday, April 3, at Matanzas High School.
When Lexie Hawkins stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning with a chance to be the hero, the Pirates’ short — but mighty — right fielder had one thought in mind: Hit. It. Hard.
With the game still scoreless, and with the winning run at second base, she was ready to swing for the fences.
Then she got a signal from her head coach, Rebecca Bower. She wanted Hawkins to bunt.
“I was like, ‘Seriously?’” Hawkins said.
On her first attempt, Hawkins connected, sending the ball skidding through the dirt toward the Sandcrabs’ shortstop, who scooped it up and flung it at the first baseman. It sailed well over her head. Hawkins was still picking herself off the ground when the Pirates’ Nikolena Perrine ran across home plate.
“I saw everyone screaming and cheering,” Hawkins said. “So, I guess we won.”
Hawkins’ game-winning bunt was the third and final hit for Matanzas in its 1-0 win over Seabreeze on the night of Tuesday, April 3, at Matanzas High School. But while the Pirates struggled to keep the ball from ballooning into the stiff wind that blew directly into the hitters’ faces, ace Madison Bodin and the rest of the defense was able to keep the Pirates’ ship from sinking.
“Nobody likes to bunt. It’s not like hitting a homerun. You don’t get all the fame and glory from bunting. But she did her job, and that’s what matters. She won the game for us.”
Matanzas coach Rebecca Bower on Lexie Hawkins' game-winning bunt
Bodin pitched the entire game, striking out three hitters and allowing two hits. In two separate innings, Bodin was able to retire the side with a total of eight pitches.
However, in the top of the seventh frame, Bodin walked a Sandcrabs hitter and gave up a single on the very next at-bat. Then, she faced the meat of the Sandcrabs’ lineup with two outs on the board.
“I knew in my heart, I just had to get this girl out,” Bodin said.
The hitter went down swinging.
“I’m not going to lie, I was nervous,” Bower said of Bodin’s great escape. “But at the same time, I have a lot of confidence in her. It really takes a lot to get her rattled. She really came through for us.”
In addition, Bower considered taking out her red hot hurler in the fourth inning to keep Seabreeze’s hitters off-balance. When the time came, Bower turned to her assistant coach.
“She’s not going anywhere tonight,” Bower said. “She is on fire.”
But despite Matanzas' stifling defense and late-game heroics, the past week had been a difficult one for the Pirates. They entered Tuesday night’s matchup on the heels of a three-game losing streak. In addition, the Pirates led the Sandcrabs 3-0 before collapsing in a 6-3 loss earlier in the season.
Bower said it was nice to finally have one go their way.
“Seabreeze played a great game,” she said. “But I’m proud of my girls because they hung in till the very end.”