Turlock High rode a strong pitching performance and early run to beat crosstown rival Pitman 6-1 Tuesday afternoon at Pitman. The Bulldogs scored early, and the defense never let the Pride get back into the game.
“We played pretty well; we had a few mistakes, but our Abby pitched a really great game today,” said Turlock head coach Mike Souza. “She had a good defense playing behind her as well.”
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” said Pitman head coach Joe Lewis. “We didn’t hit the ball. Turlock is a good team. They pitched really well and we couldn’t hit. We have to work on our hitting right now.”
Senior Haley De La Riva was the starting pitcher for the Pride and was able to get out of the first inning scoreless after letting three batters on base. Turlock senior Abbey Harrington started off her stellar pitching performance with three straight fly outs. She ended the Central California Athletic League contest with 87 pitches and seven strikeouts.
The Bulldogs opened things up in the second inning with four runs. Senior Emily Nickerson led the inning off with a single and senior Jenna Hernandez got on base with a double. Junior Natalie Sahlstrom walked to load the bases and Ayla Lacerda was hit by a pitch to drive in the first run of the game.
Harrington did some damage with the bat as well with a single that drove in two more runs. Senior Angie Valenzuela finished off the top of the first with an RBI double.
The Pride’s Bryanna Alarcon was able to get the first hit of the game off of Harrington with a single in the bottom of the second, but they couldn’t capitalize on getting someone on base.
Nickerson was able to lead off the third inning with a single and was driven in by Lacerda with an RBI single. Freshman Candence Campbell sacrifice bunted to drive in Lacerda to extend the lead.
Harrington went on to pitch three straight hitless innings to keep the pressure on the Pride. The Bulldogs were able to keep getting runners on base, but unable to bring them home.
The Pride got their best at bat of the night by senior Attie Mettler with a triple in the sixth inning. That triple drove in senior Emilie Espinosa for Pitman’s first — and only — run of the game. With two runners on in the bottom of the seven Espinosa grounded out for the final out and secured the victory for the Bulldogs.
“We have to work on the fundamentals and get back at it,” said Lewis. “We need to work on our swing and hit better.”
The Bulldogs now have a 10-3 record overall and 3-1 in league play. They play at home on Thursday against Gregori. The Pride fall to 4-6 with a 1-3 record in league play. Up next for them is a home game against Gregori on April 5.
“We have to keep on swinging it,” said Souza. “The key is to limit mistakes and keep on swinging it. This team loves to swing it and that’s what I coach them.”