The fifth time was the charm for the Dos Pueblos High softball team, which defeated visiting Santa Ynez 8-0 Friday afternoon.
The Chargers (1-4, 1-0 in Channel League) had their best offensive showing of the young season on what was a windy afternoon at Okinaka Field. Dos Pueblos recorded 10 hits and finally gave star pitcher Ali Borden some run support. Entering Friday’s game, DP had been outscored 29-3 on the season while competing against the likes of Newbury Park, Buena, Camarillo and Agoura.
“We took a really challenging path to get here playing some really talented teams. We did that to prepare ourselves for a tough league,” DP coach Mike Gerken said after Friday’s win.
Although DP lost 10-0 to Camarillo, the Chargers trailed by just two runs through five innings before the Scorpions pulled away.
“We definitely loaded our schedule with some heavy competition. We knew it was going to be a little bit of a rough start, we just wanted to see what we could do,” added Borden (yes, Borden with a B). “Coming out with a breakout win here feels really, really good.”
Borden was terrific Friday afternoon, tossing a complete game in just 83 pitches and allowing just three hits on the afternoon. She did not issue a walk and recorded eight strikeouts. The Pirates (5-2, 1-1 in Channel League) only got a runner in scoring position on one occasion, in the top of the third, but a smooth putout by shortstop Sierra Laughner ended the threat.
The Chargers got the scoring started in the bottom of the second, when freshman Bella Nuno drew a walk with the bases loaded.
Nuno was recently inserted as the Chargers leadoff hitter following a solid weekend in the Simi Valley tournament last week.
“She’s been swinging the bat really well and we were looking for something at the top of the lineup,” Gerken said. “We have a senior in the No. 2 spot (Alison Gaspar) that bunts really well, so we’re just kind of seeing how it all works out. We’ve still got a lot of games left and there will probably be a lot more change, but Bella had such a good weekend… I thought that was the way we should go.”
Gerken first saw Nuno in a summer league game and immediately noticed her potential. Nuno also had a solid showing in winter league and is expected to play a key role for the Chargers this season.
“She really demonstrated that she knows how to play this game,” Gerken said. “She plays on a pretty high-level club team and they demand a lot of her and she brings it out here.
“I think she’s faced a lot of tough pitchers in her young life and you can tell when she goes out there. She goes out there with some malice.”
Dos Pueblos was able to string some hits together in the bottom half of the third. Briana Castro led off the inning with a double to right-center field. Borden helped her own cause with an RBI double of her own to make it 2-0. Mikayla Butzke then ripped a double down the right-field line to make it 3-0.
Butzke made a diving catch on a pop up to first base to end the top of the fourth on what was a stellar defensive performance by the Chargers.
“I was so proud of my defense and we really came through with the timely hitting,” Borden said. “No errors. We really kept it clean.”
The senior pitcher was also pleased to finally be pitching with the lead.
“It’s just less pressure on myself, really,” she said. “Going into a tied ball game or down one or two runs, it’s kind of like ‘okay, well I have to be perfect.’ With a little bit of a lead, I can kind of mix my pitches a little more and have some fun.”
The Chargers were able to keep the pressure on the Pirates starter, Armani Garcia, who was the Channel League Co-MVP a season ago, sharing the award with DP’s Allison Speshyock. Last year, Garcia got the better of the Chargers with a 17 strikeout performance.
“That was in the back of our minds,” Gerken said. “We just really worked hard this week on hitting and having a good approach at the plate.”
Garcia pitched into the sixth inning Friday, but was removed from the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. The Pirates turned to junior Lauren Swing, who hadn’t toed the rubber since youth softball. Dos Pueblos added a pair of runs on walks issued by Swing before a two-run single by Jessica Reveles made it 7-0. Lia Gamberdella also drew a bases loaded walk to round out the scoring.
DP will look to build on its strong play today, as they travel back to Simi Valley for a continuation of last week’s tournament. The Chargers will face Burroughs of Burback at 8 a.m., followed by Golden Valley of Santa Clarity at 10 a.m.
“We’re hoping that we can keep this momentum going, especially with the bats,” Gerken said.