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Pitman, Turlock softball each play three over vacation
Turlock's Kelly Weber gets a base hit during the game Thursday against Presentation. The Bulldogs lost 9-2. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The Turlock and Pitman high school softball teams had mixed results during spring break play this week, starting out strong with victories over local opponents and ending their vacation with tournament play.

Both the Bulldogs and the Pride competed in the annual NorCal Classic tournament in Tracy on Thursday, and while all teams were guaranteed four games, the weather on Friday resulted in the tournament being cut short. The softball teams were each able to play two games – Turlock finished the day 0-2, while Pitman came out even with a 1-1 record.

Before tournament play, however, the teams were able to squeeze in games before the weekend rain on Wednesday, when Turlock faced league foes the Atwater Falcons and Pitman competed in a non-conference game against the Hughson Huskies.

Turlock High School continued its successful Central California Conference play in a home contest against Atwater, beating the Falcons 5-0 thanks to a strong offense that compiled seven hits, compared to their opponent’s three. With the win, Turlock improves to 5-0 in league play this season.

Senior Sophie Mayol was 1-3 with 2 RBIs in the Bulldogs’ big fifth inning that game, and sophomore Kylie Coelho was 2-3 in the game. Junior pitcher Shelby Frutoz pitched all seven innings of the game, giving up zero runs and allowing just three hits while striking out eight Falcons.

At Pitman High School on Wednesday, the Pride also walked away with a victory after defeating Hughson 14-10 in non-league play. Senior Morgan Aguiniga went 3-4 in the game with 4 RBIs while junior Kat Martinez, sophomore Megan Johnson and freshman Kai Deleon each had 2 RBIs.

The Wednesday games prepared both teams for the NorCal Classic tournament on Thursday, but Turlock coach Jill Ogden said that her focus was on making sure all 15 of her players were able to get into the game at some point during the day.

“We had that big game against Atwater where we beat them 5-0, so the goal coming into the tournament was to get everyone playing time,” Ogden said. “We had some kids that got into the game and did really well.”

Despite losing both of their games Thursday, Ogden was pleased with what she saw during play that often featured a “mixed-up” lineup.

“Our goal and focus has always been league, and all the players really buy into that idea,” she said. “This tournament was a time to get away and mix our lineup around.”

Turlock’s first game of the day was a close one, but the Bulldogs were ultimately defeated by Concord High School 6-5. Down 6-2 going into the game’s final inning, Turlock was able to push three runs across the plate but were stopped before they could tie the game.

In their second game against Presentation High School, the Bulldogs lost 9-2. After taking an early 1-0 lead in the first inning, some defensive errors contributed to the loss in the end, Ogden said.

Standout players for the Bulldogs in the NorCal Classic games that beat the rain included senior Jessie Miranda, who went 2-4 against Concord and 2-3 against Presentation in the leadoff spot, and sophomore Mackenzie Campbell, who came through with RBIs in some big spots, said Ogden.

Thursday marked the first time the Bulldogs have lost back-to-back games this season, but Ogden expects the girls to recover just fine when they pick up league play again on Tuesday.

“We’ll be ready for El Capitan,” she said.

Pitman coach Joe Lewis said he was happy about the Pride’s aggressive attitude at the plate on Thursday, which helped them score a total of 16 runs in two games. Pitman first beat West High School 10-1 before losing to Bella Vista High School, 7-6.

“As a team we hit really well, but we use this tournament to work on things and get us ready for league again because that’s what really matters,” Lewis said.

Pitman was able to score 10 runs against West thanks to their eagerness at the plate, Lewis said, where their pitch selection was top notch. Aguiniga batted 1.000 in the game, going 4-4 with a double and 2 RBIs, and Deleon was 3-4 with 2 RBIs as well.

In their second game, Pitman fell to Bella Vista after originally leading the game 5-0. After scoring one run in the first inning and another four in the second, costly errors by the Pride in the third allowed Bella Vista to score five of their own, tying the game. The rest of the game was a back-and-forth of one-run innings for both teams until Bella Vista ultimately came out on top, winning 7-6 on a passed ball at the plate.

Despite the loss, Lewis saw things that Pitman did well, as well as things they can both improve upon as they move forward in the season.

“We’ve been doing a pretty good job defensively all season, but it seems like when you make one error and then a second one happens, it just opens the door for bad things to happen,” Lewis said. “We’re young with three freshmen and sophomores starting, so as we move forward it will be nice to see how well the girls mesh with each other.”

After the tournament, Pitman is 12-3-1 overall and 1-2-1 in league. Their next home game will be against Buhach Colony on Tuesday. Turlock is now 8-5 overall but still undefeated in league and will next play against El Capitan in Merced on Tuesday.