For the first time in school history, Pitman High’s softball team is number one in the Central California Conference.
At the beginning of the week Pitman, Merced High, and Atwater High sat in a three way tie for first place but Wednesday’s matchup between the Pride and Falcons guaranteed that the standings would soon change. With strong pitching and late inning runs, Pitman stood its ground against Atwater and walked away with a 2-1 victory.
Senior Janessa Guevara displayed her mental toughness and leadership abilities as she anchored Pitman’s defense from the hill. Guevara, who will soon be playing for Sonoma State, struck out 13 Falcon batters and finished the day with an ERA of 1.00. To date, Guevara has 210 strike outs on the season.
“She was on fire,” Pitman’s head coach Cassie Sheppherd said. “Even when we weren’t scoring she maintained her focus.”
Guevara had to maintain her focus for six innings as the Pride offense struggled to score against an equally determined Atwater team. While Pitman had its fair share of hits, its squad had difficulty placing the ball away from Falcon defenders. Finally, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Guevara stepped up to the plate and lent a hand on offense, hitting a line drive into right field for the first RBI of the game.
After scoring the go ahead run Guevara was tasked with closing the game out in the seventh. With two outs and a runner on third Atwater found itself in a do or die situation. Although Guevara had given up few hits on the day the Falcons came through with a line drive, bringing the runner home and tying the game.
Pitman responded with its best offensive inning of the day, loading the bases with no outs and setting the stage for Skylar Taylor who hit a booming ball into center field, winning the game.
“When we got the first two runners on I really felt like we were going to do it,” Sheppherd said. “To actually see them do what I knew they could do was a fantastic feeling; I couldn’t ask anything more of these girls.”
The victory was the first against Atwater this season.
Pitman played Golden Valley High on Friday and defeated the Cougars 3-0. The Pride must now face, and defeat, rival Turlock High on Wednesday in order to claim their first CCC championship.
“They’ve got a great mentality. The cohesiveness of this team is unlike any team I’ve had so far,” Sheppherd said. “We’re feeling really good about the end of this season.”