Los Banos softball took the first leg of this season’s series against Pacheco with Wednesday’s 7-1 victory at Los Banos. In the short history of the fledgling cross-town rivalry, Los Banos is 5-0 against Pacheco.
While the Tigers cured the errors that plagued them in a loss the previous Friday against Ceres, Pacheco committed four of them, two during a five-run Los Banos second inning.
“We just wanted to come out with an intensity, because we didn’t want them to feel like they could hang around with us,” Los Banos catcher Angela Rodriguez said. “We wanted to shut them down early and make them chase us, we didn’t want to be having to chase them.”
Rodriguez drove in two of those runs with a bases-loaded single to center field and advanced to second on the throw home. Four of Los Banos’ runs that inning came with two outs.
“You’ve got to be able to find a way to get that third out,” Pacheco coach Charlie Pikas said. “Again, it’s a broken record, we are one play away from getting out of innings. Until we figure out how to get that third out, we’re capable of having a blowup inning like that.”
Los Banos’ Melanie Silva led off the bottom of the first with a walk, and later scored on a Rodriguez infield single. Teammate Nicole Marchese led off the bottom of the second with a single and scored when Breanna Cascia walked with the bases loaded. Kylee Cardoza scored on an error off a Taylor Harris hit, Rodriguez drove in her two and pinch runner Kalea Gabrial scored on an Alyysa Waltman single.
Los Banos put one more across in the bottom of the third when Haley Quintana walked to lead off and scored on a Cascia groundout.
“We talk about it all the time. Scoring runs and hitting is contagious. One person gets a hit – even if you don’t get a hit, but you put pressure on the defense,” Los Banos coach Dustin Caropreso said. “It’s a tough game to play as it is, but when we put the ball on the ground, you have to do three things: you have to field it, you have to throw it and you have to catch it. That’s tough to do. If they do all three, you tip your hat to them. If they don’t do all three, you’ve got a good chance of getting on. Defensively, we try to avoid that, because the more outs you give, the longer the inning stands.”
Pacheco pitcher Shyanne Vargas, who throws a slower pitch and depends on placement, kept Los Banos’ hitters off balance to an extent, with most of them taking their stance as far forward in the batters’ box as possible.
“You start changing everything you do when you’re hitting when you do that,” Caropreso said. “I’m not a firm believer in moving up in the box, I think you’ve just got to stay where you usually stay and let the ball go a little deeper. But it was a good job coming out after not knowing what was going on all week with weather and stuff like that, I think our girls did a good job.”
The next time the two teams play (May 2) will be a different story when Central Catholic transfer Gia Rodoni, a junior who has committed to pitch for Baylor University, becomes eligible.
Pacheco’s run came in the top of the fourth, when Arianna Barton led off with an infield single, advanced to third on a pair of passed balls and scored on a Mia Arrey groundout. Los Banos’ offense fizzled in the second half of the game, with just two hits in the last three innings.
“I feel like sometimes we get comfortable and we don’t play with the intensity that we should throughout the game,” Rodriguez said. “But we’re working on it.”