Softball Charges Through League Play

To most, Adam Schulze ’15 and Rory Buckman ’15 are kindred spirits. The inseparable duo has been running cross-country and track together for almost seven years, and it seems almost absurd to imagine them not side by side. After years of running the same creek trail together in preparation for cross country and track meets, the close friends now embark on new, separate, paths on their way to their respective college careers.

The Chargers entered league play several weeks ago with tremendous confidence. They went undefeated in the preseason over three games while dominating their opponents, and two of the three games were won by a margin of over ten runs. After five league games, the team had a record of 2-3. This was enough to place them in the middle of the pack in the Blossom Valley Athletic League (BVAL); however, the girls knew they had much more potential and plenty of games left to add to the win column.  

“We didn’t start off very strong in league but we are learning and improving everyday. If we take that into account, the season is only going to go upwards,” Hannah Angileri ’17 said.

League play kicked off with a matchup with the Mt. Pleasant Cardinals on March 17. This was a nail-biter, as both teams grappled for the lead throughout the game. The Cardinals scored first, but Alyssa Tom ’17 roped an RBI double to tie it up at one. The Chargers would not let the Cardinals walk away easily, as after another Cardinal run came a Grace Ramey ’17 equalizer to score Angileri. After a gritty battle, the Chargers conceded what would be the winning run in the sixth inning, giving way to a final score of 2-3. The team would also fall to Sobrato in its league home opener 3-8.  

The girls earned their first league win against Santa Teresa on March 24, but it did not come easy. They fell behind 2-0, but after a bases-loaded opportunity from errors, Elina Ortiz ’18 came in clutch with an RBI hit to tie the game up. An error on the play gave the Chargers the lead and ultimately the victory 3-2.  

The girls knew that the next game would be a major momentum shift. They could either fall behind 1-3 or even their record up at 2-2. This game came against Westmont on March 29, and it was not only an entertaining game, but also a great team win. The first three innings were three up and three down for both foes. From the start of the game, both teams knew it was going to be a pitchers duel. Marissa Gittelson ’18 pitched five great innings for the Chargers, but Westmont scored first in the fourth inning. The Chargers responded as Jessica Leong ’16 hit a single to start the inning; then, Michelle Calcany-Blair ’17 put down a bunt to beat it out for the recorded single, and she would go on to hit two for three in the game. Blair also executed defensively, making a sparkling catch on a line drive to center field as she hustled to a ball towards the right-center gap for the third out of the first inning.The fourth inning turned out to be a turbulent one, as Ramey loaded the bases with another single. Nicole Tom ’17 would then tie it up with an RBI single. Angileri put the ball in play that resulted in an errant throw home, which brought in two more runs. All of the top five batters would score this inning when Ortiz sealed the lead with a two RBI single up the middle. Westmont scored two more before Jordan Bennett ’19 came in the game at the start of the sixth inning to shut the Warriors down. Angileri started the sixth with a base hit for Tom and Ortiz to move her into scoring position. Riley Ruiz ’18 lined an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth before the inning ended. The Chargers defense would finish the game with a final score of 6-3.

“It takes getting used to a new team and new rules to achieve success, but we are just starting to get going and we are going to keep at it,” Head Coach Mark Espinoza said.