Softball conquers in season opener

Austin Messick

In a dominant 14-0 campaign Friday night, the Saddleback women’s softball team beat the visiting Los Angeles Valley College Monarchs in their season opener. The mercy rule was enforced in fifth inning after both head coaches agreed to end the game.

“We expected a win in our first game,” said Saddleback’s Head Coach Nick Trani. “We always expect to win.”

After an uneventful first inning, the Gauchos scored their first run in the bottom of the second inning. Saddleback outfielder Amy Balridge hit a ground ball leading to an error by LA Valley shortstop Jenna Serranzana. Saddleback pitcher Chelsea Bertoglio capitalized on this error by scoring.

Following three RBIs and one run assisted by a LA Valley error, Saddleback raised the score to 5-0 at the end of second inning. After quickly removing LA Valley from the plate in the top of the third inning, the Gauchos began an offensive assault.

With the bases loaded and no outs, infielder Rachel Watson bunted leading to an LA Valley error resulting in two scores by Bertogolio and Ashley Putkamer. Next, infielder Nicki Jacobucci hit a ground ball down the left-field line to bring in Watson.

Strong batting and two more errors by LA Valley brought in two Gaucho runs. With the bases loaded and one out, LA Valley pitcher Silvette Rodriguez walked Putkamer to bring in Shannon Wilkison elevating the score to 11-0.

The fourth inning consisted of a two-run RBI by shortstop Christina Bolin, and ground ball hit down the left-field line by pitcher Mandy Gutierrez who subsequently brought in Bolin. These runs sealed the victory by way of the mercy rule at 14-0.

Miscues by LA Valley aided Saddleback in their win with the Monarchs committing eight errors. Saddleback had one error themselves and played solid defense throughout the game.

“We played really hard and came out and had a good first game of the season,” Rachel Watson said. “It feels good to get such a big win.”

Saddleback will get another chance at victory against Chaffey College on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Saddleback softball fields.

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