Pacheco softball team deals loss to Lathrop

By David Witte / sports@losbanosenterprise.comMarch 1, 2013 

The Pacheco softball team opened its season with what coach Charlie Pikas considers a measuring-stick week against Lathrop, Delhi and Sonora.

The Panthers defeated Lathrop 7-1 at home on Tuesday, then lost 4-3 to Delhi during an away game on Wednesday. Both results mark an improvement for Pikas.

"Really, the other teams haven't changed too much. We haven't either, just a couple of new faces," Pikas said. "We talked on Tuesday, last year Lathrop beat us 8-7, and this year we beat them 7-1. We made some improvements."

Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Eagleton, the incumbent starter, struck out nine batters against Lathrop, and freshman Shyanne Vargas whiffed six against Delhi, which defeated Pacheco by 10-run rule a year ago.

"(Eagleton)'s gotten stronger. I think she has that year under her belt where she understands a little more what it takes to compete at the varsity level," Pikas said. "I think she's also gained confidence in the team around her."

Another freshman, Kayla Valdez, made a difference in the Lathrop win. With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, Vargas belted a three-run triple against a gusting wind that flustered batters from both teams all afternoon.

"I've kind of shared it with the kids, I don't really look at it as being younger," Pikas said. "A lot of these kids have been playing travel ball for a while, so young is only in terms of age."

Vargas is one of two freshman shortstops on the varsity team this year -- the other is Jasmine Yruegas -- which prompted a move for senior Tracy Alvarez from shortstop to first base.

"Tracy's one of those kids who can play any position," Pikas said. "So we looked at what we needed if we were to move her, and we figured first base is a place we could take her."

Pikas said Delhi's Alyssa Stockton compares well with a lot of the pitching in the Western Athletic Conference, and the Panthers' competitiveness against her could bode well for a team coming off a 2-10 league record in its first varsity season. Against Stockton, Pacheco catcher Claudia Garcia went 3-for-3, Alexis Verderber was 2-for-3, and Eagleton hit a triple.

Across town, Los Banos High opened its season with an 0-3 record, with losses to Merced (3-0), Pitman (4-2) and Orestimba (7-4).

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

Enterprise reporter David Witte can be reached by phone at 388-6565 or by e-mail at sports@losbanosenterprise.com

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