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Team effort lifts Bulldogs over Pride
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Pitman's Emilie Espinosa waits for her chance to score a home run Tuesday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

A dominant pitching performance and timely hits led the Turlock High softball team to victory over Pitman High on Tuesday afternoon in the two teams’ first rivalry matchup since beginning play in a new league.

There wasn’t much the Pride could do in their 6-1 loss against the Bulldogs, who were led by a dazzling display from the circle courtesy of pitcher Shelby Frutoz. The Long Beach State-bound senior tossed a complete game, striking out 12 while allowing just four hits, one walk and one run.

“We wanted to come out today and show the league we’re strong this year,” Frutoz said. “I just wanted to be aggressive, go straight at batters and get the team back in the dugout to get hitting.”

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Turlock's Shelby Frutoz pitches during the game against Turlock on Tuesday evening (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

The Bulldogs scored first in the bottom of the second inning when junior catcher Mackenzie Campbell got things started with a double off Pride pitcher Gabby De Leon — a sophomore who held her own opposite Frutoz for the game’s first couple of innings. A bloop RBI single from Turlock center fielder Ellie Price brought Campbell home.

An inning later Frutoz busted the game open with a 2 RBI double, bringing home infielders Faith Hernandez and Faith Erb. Shortstop Addison Machado and Campbell then tallied on another two runs to the Bulldogs’ total with an RBI single.

With the score 5-0, De Leon went straight from the pitcher’s mound to the batter’s box to try and get things started for the Pride. After De Leon smashed a double, third baseman Kat Martinez got Pitman on the board with an RBI double.

It was the only run the Pride would score during the game, which saw the team leave five runners on base. The Bulldogs scored once more in the sixth inning after a Price single, who moved from first to third on a couple of groundouts from her teammates, then scored on an error.

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Kai Deleon of Pitman pitches during the crosstown rival game at Turlock Tuesday (CANDY PADILLA/The Journal).

“What we saw today with the hitting is what we’ve been looking for the last few games: great situational hitting and moving the runners over,” Turlock head coach Jill Ogden said. “They weren’t trying to do too much. They got their singles and picked up some runs.”

One of the most exciting parts of the game was the entire lineup’s contribution to the victory, Ogden said.

“We’re a really strong team one through nine, and they get along really well,” Ogden said. “They play for each other and they really understand their role. Today that goal was to get to the next batter.”

Lewis was happy with the contact his team made against Frutoz, though the hits they were able to push through didn’t always come at the right time.

“We had plenty of runners on and couldn’t get the hits to follow,” Pitman head coach Joe Lewis said. “They made contact all game, but we just couldn’t find open spots.”

In addition to runners left on base, Pitman also committed three errors during the game — small details Lewis believes will improve as the team plays more games. Both Lewis and Martinez know the team has the talent to succeed in the Central California Athletic League, but putting it together on the diamond will take time.

“I come in trusting everybody and I know we can do well and have the ability to do well, it’s just experience on the field and getting to play with each other more,” Martinez said. “All of us get along and we have a good bond, it’s just that on the field experience we’re missing.”

Frutoz finished her day at the plate 1 for 3 with a double and 2 RBIs, and from the pitcher’s circle also recorded at least one strike out every inning. Campbell went 2 for 3 with a double, RBI and one run scored, and Price finished 2 for 3 with an RBI and one run scored.

For Pitman, De Leon went three innings, giving up 7 hits, two walks and striking out five. At the plate, De Leon was 1 for 3 with a double, and Martinez finished the day 1 for 2 with an RBI double.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs will face Gregori at 3:45 p.m. on the road. With their victory over Pitman, Turlock improves to 6-3 overall and 2-1 in CCAL play.

The Pride on Thursday will face Enochs on the road at 3:45 p.m. After Tuesday’s game, Pitman is now 3-6 overall and 1-2 in CCAL play.