Randy Hopkins has been working for Turlock Christian High for at least 30 years, many of them as a softball head coach. But prior to Thursday afternoon, there was something he has never seen before.
And that was a home run at Pedretti Park’s softball field.
Stephanie Huber changed all that with one mighty swing, as the lefthander slammed a homer over the right field fence, a distance of at least 210 feet. At this small-school level, a shot like that is rare, which might explain why the Turlock Christian coaches, players and fans were still buzzing about it well after a 7-5 loss to Gustine High in the Southern League game.
Huber’s second homer of the season was one of the few highlights for the Eagles (3-7 overall, 3-4 SL), who committed four errors that the Redskins (5-1 SL) turned into four runs. Gustine went ahead 5-0 after the top of the fifth inning before Turlock Christian supplied a late-game rally.
The Eagles were down 7-5 before their final plate appearance, which ended in two fly outs and a strikeout.
“We lost this ball game not because they’re a better team, I don’t think,” Hopkins said, “but because we made four errors that cost us four runs. Otherwise, we win the ball game. They’re a decent team. We should have beaten them.”
The Eagles had runners in scoring position in the first four innings, but they didn’t capitalize until the fifth. That was when they managed four runs on five hits, including Huber’s homer.
“The first one I’ve ever seen,” Hopkins said about Huber’s solo homer at Pedretti Park. “And it wasn’t just a bloop. It was legitimate line-drive home run.”
In that inning, Turlock Christian also had Kara Gabrielson and Tara LaFollette finish with an RBI apiece. Molly Farrar smashed out two hits, including an RBI single in the fifth to give the game its final score. Huber, LaFollette and Catherine Balswick also finished with two hits each.
LaFollette pitched a complete game, finishing with seven strikeouts.
“They had a good offense, they had a good defense,” Huber said. “But it was just something that we have to be better at. It just didn’t work this time.”
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