In their first meeting of the year on the softball diamond, Pitman was able to claim victory over Turlock in a one-run decision that ultimately came down to defense and a three-run inning in the third.
It was Turlock who notched two early runs in the opening inning to take a 2-0 lead after the first. The lead didn't last very long for the Bulldogs after the Pride scored one in the bottom of the second followed by three in the next and they hung on for a 4-3 win.
“Of course the cross town rivalry was here and its always different and we knew Turlock has a good team this year,” said Pitman head coach Joe Lewis. “The girls played up to their potential today and it was a good time to step up.”
Pitman's league record improves to 2-3 in the Central California Conference while Turlock falls to 1-4. The Bulldogs have lost three of the last four games after winning three straight preseason contests.
Five of Turlock's six losses this year have come by two-runs or less.
“We have lost a few close games, which shows that we are right in there and very competitive and I am proud of that because we have come a long way for our program,” said Turlock head coach Jill Ogden.
Turlock's hitting also looked better, but in this game Pitman's was just a bit better.
Pitman's Alanah Laupua was 2 for 3 with two RBI. Morgan Aguiniga was 1 for 4 with an RBI and Holland Henson was 1 for 2 with a walk.
Denae Finney started for the Pitman Pride and tossed a seven-inning complete game after allowing five hits, and two earned runs.
“We had a couple of shaky plays with the errors but Denae pitched well and the bats really came alive early,” said Lewis. “I think the girls putting the ball in play was huge for us, there was that big inning and they did real well in the third. It was a big inning and confidence was huge there.”
Henson started the rally by getting on base to lead off the third. Claire Fountain followed and reached base on a fielder’s choice, setting up Henson for the game tying score to make it 2-2, with two runners in scoring position.
Laupua, on her second pitch, drove a two-run single up the middle to go up 4-2 and for good.
“I think the girls’ confidence is good. I always have a great group of girls that never seem to be completely down,” said Lewis. “Obviously they are down after a bad game but I think they know in their minds what they are capable of and hopefully this rolls over to the rest of league.”
Turlock's Jessie Miranda was 3 for 4 with three singles and a run scored. Freshman Shelby Frutoz was 0 for 2 with a sacrifice fly RBI and senior Madi Mayol was 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Mariah Gonzalez started for Turlock before being relieved in the third inning by Frutoz, who went on to toss 3 and 2/3 innings of shutout ball. Gonzalez went 2 and 1/3, allowing four runs, two earned on six hits and two walks.
Frutoz struck out six of 14 batters faced and allowed just a pair of hits.
“We have a lot of positives to take from this game,” said Ogden. “I felt like the first inning we got two and our energy was up, we started off better, but Pitman just got hits together and scored the runs. They are a very good hitting team.”
Turlock's next game will be on the road at Buhach Colony at 4 p.m. Friday.
Pitman will next take on Golden Valley at home at 4 p.m. Friday.