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Ice Rally Back in Seventh, Beat Heat 7-6

August 20, 2006 - National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) - Arizona Heat News Release

TUCSON, ARIZ - The Arizona Heat dropped the final game of the 2006 season to Michigan Ice by a score of 7-6. The Heat took a four run lead into the seventh, but could not hold off the Ice. Michigan scored six unearned runs in the seventh to go ahead and win their first game of the series.

Desiree Serrano started for the Heat and went four innings, allowing just one run on eight hits. She did not walk a batter and struck out six. Leslie Wolfe came on to start the fifth and cruised through her first two innings. She allowed six runs in the seventh, all unearned and fell to 7-7 on the season. Jenny Mackson made her second start of the series for the Ice, and lasted 5.2 innings. She surrendered five runs on eight hits and walked three. Janet Nagle picked up the win by going one and two-thirds innings and allowing one run.

Nichole Thompson got things started in the bottom of the first. She belted the first pitch she saw over the right field fence, giving the Heat a 1-0 lead.

The Ice broke through on Serrano in the top of the fourth, scoring a run and tying the game. Amanda Jensen, Grete Hornstrom and Heidi Bauer all singled with one down to load the bases. Pinch hitter Alison Honaman then delivered a two-out RBI single to knot the game at 1-1.

The Heat did not waste anytime getting the lead back, scoring one in the bottom of the inning. Thompson drew a lead off walk and was singled to third by Jackie Coburn. Thompson came into score on a squeeze bunt by Kaleo Eldredge, putting the Heat up 2-1.

Arizona tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. LaDonia Hughes and Catalina Morris connected on back-to-back one out singles to give the Heat a pair of runners. Autumn Champion ripped her first career triple into the left field corner, scoring both runners. Champion would score on a sacrifice fly by Thompson, giving the Heat a 5-1 lead.

The game moved into the seventh with the Ice still trailing by four runs and on the brink of being swept. With one out in the inning, Honaman reached on an error to give the Ice some life. After a fielder's choice put two down in the inning, Charity Butler dropped a single into left. Auriel Jenkins reached on the Heat's second error, and loaded the bases. Nikki Conway's bloop single to left scored two and brought the Ice within a pair of runs. Jensen reached after being hit by a pitch before Hornstrom tied the game with a single to right. Bauer then ripped a single through the middle to give the Ice their first lead of the game at 7-5.

The Heat did not go down quietly in the bottom half of the inning, scoring one and putting the tying run into scoring position. Morris started the inning with a single before Nagle retired the next two. With two out and Morris still on first, Toni Mascarenas drove a double into the gap, scoring Morris. Nagle would then get Coburn to lineout to first and end the game.

Catalina Morris, Jackie Coburn and LaDonia Hughes contributed two hits apiece on the night for the Heat. Nichole Thompson hit her first homerun of the season and also added a sacrifice fly. Autumn Champion finished one for three with a triple and a pair of RBIs.

The Ice got multi-hit games from Becky Manson, Charity Butler, Amanda Jensen and Grete Hornstrom on their way to a series high 12 hits. Nikki Conway, Hornstrom and Heidi Bauer each collected a pair of RBIs.

The Heat finished the season in sixth place with a 20-28 record.

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