Softball Suffers Tough Loss in Preseason Outing

Kylie Choi, Staff Writer

The girls’ varsity softball team lost to Alameda, 10-0, in 5 innings at home on March 3. While games normally go to 7 innings, the “Mercy Rule” allows games to be ended early when 1 team gains a significant advantage.

Already up 4-0, Alameda scored 3 more runs in the 3rd inning with 2 outs. Alameda added 3 more runs through the 4th and 4th innings.

“Prior to the game I actually thought we were really going to struggle against them,” admitted head coach Wayne Stephans, adding that, “The pitcher that they have there is actually one of the better pitchers in the area.” 

However, this is all part of the plan for Stephens, who explained that he purposely sets up games against tough opponents during the preseason. “The reason we do hard games [pre-season] is so that we prepare ourselves for League. We want these hard-fought games, so that we can make sure that when we get to League, or not just limping into it,” explained Stephens.

Key injury was another reason for the team’s struggles. Freshman middle infielder Lyla Marcus was out due to concussion and freshman starting catcher Ashlyn Chin didn’t play because of a badly bruised thumb suffered in practice the day before. According to Stephens, some players were playing out of their normal positions in order to fill in for his injured starters.

In spite of the loss, and a current record of 1-2, the coaches remain optimistic.

“We were solid defensively, said Stephens. “It’s our pitching. Our pitching is what struggled, and that’s on any team, that’s the one key thing, if you’re pitching is not there then you’re going to struggle as a team.”

“I do say that we competed very well,” said Stephens. “…They need to come together and start supporting each other more… they fundamentally played the game, like they know how, just they need to start learning to support each other better.”

Coach John Fondnazio said the underclassmen were still figuring out their roles. “A lot of younger players… playing at a varsity level and you got younger kids, there’s an adjustment period, we haven’t quite hit that yet,” he explained.

The coaches still believe the team has a shot at North Coast Section (NCS) qualification and adding another year onto the Championship banner. “We’ve got the talent to do it,” said Fondnazio. “It’s an effort, you know it’s early in the season so we’re just trying to figure out, you know, where people are going to fit in and where they can excel.”

The team has “promising” freshmen such as Nikita Vayner and Louise Goldblatt who, prior to the season, had never played before.

“I think I’ve been able to improve mostly because we do a lot of repetitive practice things and our coaches, if they notice any small mistakes, they correct them immediately,” said Vayner.