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Dos Pueblos Beats Buena on Jade Sinskul’s 3-Run Blast in 6th Inning

Jade Sinskul leaps into home plate as her Dos Pueblos teammates celebrate her go-ahead three-run homer against Buena.
Jade Sinskul leaps into home plate as her Dos Pueblos teammates celebrate her go-ahead three-run homer against Buena. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

Coach Jon Uyesaka calls catcher Jade Sinskul the spirit of the Dos Pueblos softball team.

Sinskul sent the Chargers’ spirits soaring on Thursday with a towering three-run homer to right-center field in the sixth inning that lifted DP to a thrilling 5-4 comeback victory over Buena in a key Channel League game at Okinaka Field.

Sinskul’s blast made a winner of Gabriela Gandall in her first Channel League game, gave the Chargers a 2-1 edge in their series with Buena and put them in the driver’s seat for the league title.

DP, ranked second in CIF-SS Division 4, is alone in first place at 4-1 in league and is 11-3 overall. No. 4 Buena is 6-2 and 11-3.

Buena catcher Evelyn Loyola gave the Bulldogs a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning with a solo homer off Gandall.

But DP rallied behind its junior pitcher in the sixth. Siena Wagner ripped a Brooke Yanez pitch off the fence in right field for a triple and Madison Pickett drew a walk. With her teammates in the dugout flipping their visors up as rally caps, Sinskul launched the ball over the fence for the Chargers’ only lead of the game.

“This is her stage, really,” Uyesaka said of the four-year varsity player. “As shy as she is, she’s a bright light out here. She’s comfortable, and that’s her home plate. When she sees her pitch, there’s no stopping her.”

Facing the hard-throwing Yanez (13 strikeouts), Uyesaka told his hitters to shorten up their swings and just put the ball in play.

“Jade, I had to remind her, ‘Just a base hit, Jade, just a base hit,” said Uyesaka of his conversation with his senior catcher.

Then came the homer.

Jade Sinskul follows through on her home run swing in the sixth inning. Click to view larger
Jade Sinskul follows through on her home run swing in the sixth inning. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

“ ‘There you go, coach. There’s my base hit,” Uyesaka said of Sinskul’s response after the home run. “I’ll take that any day. ‘Just keep doing those base hits.’”

After the game, Sinskul still couldn’t believe what she did.

“When I hit it, I knew it was going over because it was sailing and the wind kind of took it, I feel like,” she said. “I don’t know … Oh, my God! It was my first big-home run hit at the end of a game. This is new to me.”

She said her approach was just hit the ball hard. But deep down she wanted to do something big for her team.

“I really wanted this game. (The hit) didn’t feel like it was on the good part of the bat, so it was 50 (percent) luck and 50 power.”

It was now up to Gandall and the DP defense to hold the lead for one more inning.

They came through, but not without a little drama.  After shortstop Nova Sinskul gunned out the first batter, Buena leadoff hitter Janessa Uellega smacked a double — Villegas was a tough out all game as she we went 3 for 4. A wild pitch advanced Villegas to third. Gandall shook it off and got Ari Rios to ground out to shortstop. Sinskul did a nice job of holding Uellega at third before firing the ball to first baseman Ali Milam for the second out.

Gandall next had to face Loyola. The count went to 3-2 before she got the Buena slugger to fly out to right field for the final out.

“I was throwing my drop curve every single pitch,” Gandall said. “I knew if I left it up she would drive it right over again. She popped up, which is what we wanted.”

Jade Sinskul gave high praise to Gandall.

“She really stood out today, she was shining,” the Marist-bound catcher said. “She’s an amazing pitcher. She moves the ball real well. When we got that last out, she told me, ‘I’ve never spun a ball so hard in my life to get that out.’”

Asked about her reaction when Sinskul hit the go-ahead homer, Gandall said: “I was losing my voice in the dugout — I was screaming. That was a clutch hit, we needed it.”

Uyesaka said Gandall not only earned the chance to pitch in the big game, she was someone Buena had never seen.

“She’s been working really hard all season to get the opportunity to pitch,” he said. “Maddy (Pickett) has been so good this year. I felt Maddy threw a really good game on Tuesday (a 3-1 loss at Buena), so it was a great opportunity to give Gabi her chance to show herself in her first Channel League game.”

Uyesaka didn’t sugar coat the importance of the game.

“Before the game I said this is our championship. We got to do it right now. I am really proud to see her work hard on every single pitch. You could see the determination on every pitch.”

Her poise and composure never wavered after falling behind 3-0. She gave up an RBI single to Loyola and threw a wild pitch that allowed a second run to score in the first inning. The Bulldogs made it 3-0 in the second inning after singles by Bree Betancourt and Uellega and blown rundown play.

Pickett provided a lift for DP in the bottom of the second with a homer to center field off Yanez.

“That was huge. That came out of nowhere,” said Uyesaka.

Pickett made it 3-2 in the fourth, scoring on a basehit by Ali Milam.

But Buena answered with a homer by Loyola for a 4-2 advantage in the fifth

An inning later, Wagner and Pickett set the stage for Sinskul’s heroic blast.

“We really wanted this,” she said.

Buena…210 010 0 — 4 8 0

Dos Pueblos…010 103 x — 5 5 1

Yanez and Loyola; Gandall and J. Sinskul.

W—Gandall. L—Yanez

HR—B: Loyola, 5th inn., none on. DP: Pickett, 2nd inn., none on; J. Sinskul, 6th inn., two on.

3B—DP: Wagner.

2B—B: Ullegue. DP: J. Sinskul.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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