Freshman Central California Conference pitchers Shelby Frutoz of Turlock and Marissa Bertuccio of Golden Valley were outstanding when they met on Friday in their second varsity league meeting of the year.
Both Frutoz and Bertuccio, who are familiar with each other after years of travel softball, are also great friends, but for a few hours on a significantly windy afternoon, they were on opposing sides.
They both finished with nearly identical numbers statistically, but in the end, Bertuccio's Golden Valley team was able to notch the lone run of the ball game which made the difference in a 1-0 decision.
“It was a good game on both sides,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden. “I mean neither team really hit too well so it came down to pitching and Marissa (Bertuccio) pitched well and kept us off.”
Bertuccio finished a nearly flawless game with a seven-inning performance after allowing just three hits and striking out 11 in the team's third shutout of the year.
Frutoz had nearly the exact same numbers after tossing a complete game seven-innings, allowing just two hits, walking none and striking out 11.
Combined, both GV and Turlock struck out 22 times and only accounted for five hits for the entire game.
“We did not swing well at the plate, not aggressive at all today,” said Ogden. “We also took a lot of strikes, which we need to work on.”
The scoreboard read 0-0 until the sixth inning when the magic finally struck for GV.
With two outs, sophomore Kim Andrade of GV laid down the perfect bunt for an RBI and drove in freshman Maddie Martinez for the game winner.
Bertuccio went three-up and three-down in the bottom half of the sixth and after Frutoz struck out the next three batters in the seventh, the stage was set for a dramatic seventh inning.
Tyra Hampton, who seems to be getting on base every game, reached base safely after a dropped ball by the left fielder.
Mariah Gonzalez pinch-ran for Hampton and stole second base in the next at-bat with no outs.
Bertuccio struck out Kelly Weber and retired Jayden Mendoza for two outs, leaving Gonzalez at third base with Haylee Morris up for the final out.
With Gonzalez just a few feet away from home plate, and the possibility of tying the game, Morris, who was the go-ahead run attacked Bertuccio early, setting up an even 1-1 count.
Morris attacked the next breaking pitch from Bertuccio as she flied out to center field for the final out.
“In that situation I don't want to see anything different with hitting because better to pop out then striking out,” said Ogden of the final at-bat. “We left runners on, swung at outside pitches and we need to execute on offense when we get a chance, we need to score.”
Of the Bulldogs three hits, Weber was 2 for 3 and Tyra Hampton tallied the other hit.
Turlock will next take on first place Merced on the road at 4 p.m. Wednesday.