The Delhi High softball team's hopes for a Division VI title will have to wait another year, as the Hawks fell to Le Grand High, 10-3, in the semi-finals Saturday at the Arnaiz Softball Complex in Stockton.
“We are just young, I think the nerves got to us; we've never been there before,” Delhi head coach Tami Tela said of the semi-final game. “Those are just nerves we need to settle down on; next year will be a little different.”
Delhi finished its season at 19-8 overall for the year and scored over 174 runs in the span of 27 games, averaging 6.4 runs per game as a team. It was by far the softball program's most prominent year and the team hopes to continue the success.
“This is the most successful year in Delhi softball history; we have always been around .500,” Tela said. “This is the first time that we're over, and definitely the most successful year."
The first run for the Hawks came in the top of the second, as they were down 3-0. Alyssa Stockton hit an RBI single to centerfield and drove in Alicia Knight, cutting the deficit to three. But this was as close as Delhi got to the lead. But the Hawks never gave up. Three-unanswered runs for Le Grand High were followed by a Lexus Palamino RBI double to leftfield to score Diamond Orozco for Delhi. The Hawks' final run came in the top of the seventh after Nayeli Espinosa scored on a pass ball by Le Grand’s pitcher.
“Next year the girls will know what to expect, the camaraderie we have is not gonna leave because they get along so great outside of softball,” Tela said. “I think that helps a lot, next year we won’t have the same nerve tendencies we dealt with it all year because most of them never played in the postseason.”
The Hawks' defense also struggled on the day as the team committed six errors and allowed three unearned runs.
Tela will have nine seniors graduating from her squad, three of whom are starters: Selene Lopez, Lexus Palamino, and Alicia Knight.
“They [the girls] were very emotional, all of the kids realized there was no more practice for the rest of their lives,” Tela said about her seniors. “Those three have played travel ball with me; I have coached all three, all four years. We were with each other most of the year all day. We were very close and those girls are very intelligent. They are great leaders and always very positive.”
The Hawks will return next year with sophomore sensation Stockton, who has been nothing short of phenomenal for her squad all season as she put up numbers that are nearly unheard of, amassing 158 innings pitched, and 325 strikeouts for the year, a stat for which she led the state of California. For the season, Stockton struck out at least 10 more batters faced in 22 of her 27 game appearances, a tremendous feat. On Saturday, Stockton was able to toss up a complete game, however, she allowed seven earned runs, nine hits, and struck out 11 as she picked up her eighth loss of the year.
“Alyssa has put forth the effort to become the pitcher she is today. I've known her since elementary, she started at 9 or 10,” Tela said. “This year taught her how to play under pressure, but she overcame a lot and learned how to be a better player and leader as a sophomore. This young lady has developed immensely and has a great work ethic and can make any D-1 school. She’s dedicated to the sport and time, you got to put the time in I tell her, and her dream is to play for UCLA.”