Pacheco High’s softball team wants to be taken seriously as a playoff team, and the first step to that status is winning Western Athletic Conference games.
The Panthers got their first league win Wednesday, holding on to defeat Livingston 11-10.
“It’s big in the sense that we’ve set a number that we think we need to get to to get to the playoffs, and this is one game closer,” Pacheco coach Charlie Pikas said. “If we’re going to be considered a playoff team, we’re going to have to start beating teams.”
Pacheco got a gift in the bottom of the fifth inning, though, when Adrianna Tomasetti hit what should have been a routine groundout to end the inning with the score tied 9-9. Instead, Tomasetti reached on an error, then scored on a Sammy Jacquez single to right field. Pikas sent her around third base for what could have been a close play at the plate, but the throw sailed to the backstop.
“I was going to slide, but I saw it go over, so I just stood up. I knew that I was going to score,” Tomasetti said. “I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to try to hurry and get it,’ because I saw it coming when I was rounding third.”
Jacquez scored when the next batter, Kayla Valdez, smacked a double over the center fielder’s head. The two runs were enough to hang on after Livingston’s Nathie Bennen bunted for a single and represented the tying run on second base after an errant throw allowed a Livingston run, but Pacheco’s Jacquez tracked down a Savannah Gonzales fly in shallow center to end the game.
“We’ve got to play good defense all around. We’ve got to make good pitches and let our defense work, and then we’ve got play catch when we get the ball,” Pikas said. “We threw some balls around today and gave them some extra opportunities. We can’t afford to do that, so we have to clean it up defensively. Offensively, depending on the pitching you’re going to get some games where you put up 11, and you’re going to get some games where you work for one or two. We have the ability to work for one or two when we need it, but defensively is where we’ve got to get better.”
Valdez, Jacquez, Arianna Barton and Yadira Castillo all had two hits for the Panthers (7-5, 1-2 WAC). The win helped Pacheco rebound from big losses in its first two league games (11-1 to Central Catholic and 15-0 to Ceres).
“I think this is a big step for us, because we’re only going to get more. This is only a first step, but it’s really going to help us,” Tomasetti said. “We were feeling down (after the losses), but we just work hard at practice, and it paid off.”
Pikas said Livingston’s error to keep the inning alive was reminiscent of Pacheco’s snowball of a first inning against Ceres.
“If we make two plays, we’re out of the first inning 0-0. Instead it’s 12-0. Maybe it’s the game paying us back,” Pikas said. “Against Ceres, they’re flat-out the best-hitting team in our league that we’ve seen. We didn’t make plays in the first inning, next thing you know, they roll through their lineup and score 12, finish with 15. Central Catholic, it was 1-1 heading into the fourth, we make too many mistakes on defense and they get eight runs.
“We are extending innings right now defensively, and that’s giving up real big innings.”
Los Banos High remains at 2-0 in WAC play (4-7 overall) after Wednesday’s game at Central Catholic was rained out. The Tigers defeated Patterson 5-3 on Friday.