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Late-inning homers catapult ‘Dogs past Orestimba
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Turlock senior pitcher Abbey Harrington struck out nine and walked two on Thursday against Orestimba (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

The Turlock High varsity softball team welcomed fans back to campus with a bang during their home opener on Thursday, completing a come-from-behind victory over Orestimba courtesy of power at the plate and prowess on the mound.

The Bulldogs’ 6-5 win was their second in three games to start the season and new head coach Michael Souza’s first at home, but it didn’t come easy. 

“This was another close game and all three of our games so far have been tight, so it’s a pretty intense way to start,” Souza said. “Our girls got their nerves tested a little bit today and that’s only going to benefit us down the road.”

After Turlock went up 3-0 in the first inning — thanks to RBIs from senior third baseman Angie Valenzuela and sophomore catcher Hailey Bacon — the Warriors chipped away to take back the lead.

Orestimba scored two in the fourth thanks to some timely hits, and another three in the fifth after two infield errors by Turlock to go up 5-3.

“They’re a good, aggressive team just like we are,” Souza said. 

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Sophomore catcher Hailey Bacon connects on a home run during the fifth inning of Turlock's 6-5 victory over Orestimba on Thursday (ANGELINA MARTIN/The Journal).

The Bulldogs answered right back in the bottom of the fifth inning by boasting their power. After senior pitcher and No. 3 hitter Abbey Harrington led off with a single, Valenzuela hit into a 4-6-3 double play — but it didn’t kill the rally. 

With two outs, Bacon came up to bat and smashed a solo home run to center field, jolting life back into the Bulldog dugout and putting the tying run up to the plate. Senior second baseman Emily Nickerson got on base with a single for senior first baseman Alex Souza, who smashed the second home run of the inning over the fence to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead.

“We have a lot of power, so we expect that to happen a lot this year,” Souza said of the three-score burst. “That was a big two-out rally.”

Bacon finished the game 2-for-2 with a walk, home run and two RBIs, Valenzuela was 1-for-3 with an RBI. Souza went 1-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

Harrington, who struck out nine Warriors on the afternoon and walked only two, closed out the top of the seventh from the mound with a flyout, groundout and strikeout to end the game. 

“Abbey threw really well. Those nine strikeouts were big,” Souza said. “She kept the ball down, hit her spots and limited the walks. She’s our work horse.”

The Bulldogs will kick off Central California Athletic League play in Modesto next week when they play Downey at 3:45 p.m. Thursday.