Behind a strong combined pitching performance, effective defense, and power hitting the Sunny Hills Lady Lancers were able to build an early lead against rivals Troy and earn a 7-2 Freeway League victory.
Though superior on offense throughout the game, a mistake by Troy gave Sunny Hills their first run of the day.
The Lady Lancers (11-6, 2-0) took the lead in the first inning when a wild pitch by Brianna Castellon made its way past the catcher and allowed Taylor Okada to score from third base.
“When you start with a run it just kinda puts puts a little bit more pressure on the other team,” Sunny Hills manager Arthur Jarman said about the opening run.
Just moments later Mariah Ramirez began a big day at the plate for Sunny Hills when she hit a double to drive in their second run of the game.
““The kids came out hitting the ball again, which is important,” Jarman said.
Lauren Huerta took the circle for the Lady Lancers in the bottom of the inning and kept the Lady Warriors (8-11, 0-2) off the scoreboard for most of her four inning outing.
“Lauren just gives good hitters catfits, they just don’t know how to hit [off] her.”
Troy looked to be on the verge of starting a comeback when they loaded the bases in the bottom of the third but defensive play by Sunny Hills stymied their attempts.
“Our defense was just stellar,” Jarman said.
With the bases loaded Huerta was able to force a ground ball by Alyssa Polentz which turned into a force out at home and double play when catcher Molly Grumbo threw Polentz out at first base.
“She hits a comebacker double play, takes us out, and it just kills the momentum of the inning,” said Troy manager Marlon Buttram about the play.
Despite the double play Troy still had runners on second and third base.
Though a Troy batter made contact with a pitch to knock it to right field, a diving catch by a Lancers outfielder ended the inning without a run being scored by the Warriors.
Sunny Hills fielders made some run saving plays In the third inning, but slipped up in the fourth.
Troy got their first run of the game after a Sunny Hills infielder overthrew her third base target which allowed the third base runner to score.
With their lead cut to two, Ramirez stepped up to extend it.
The junior responded for the Lady Lancers in the top of the fifth with a two-run blast off the Lady Warriors relief pitcher to make it 5-1.
Ramirez replaced Huerta in the circle for the Lady Lancers in the bottom of the fifth inning.
In three innings of work the third-year varsity player only gave up one run and recorded two strikeouts.
Going into the final inning the Troy cut the Lancers lead to three but just like before power hitting made a difference.
In a repeat performance of her previous at bat, Ramirez hit another two-run homerun to make it 7-2.
In the bottom of the inning the Lady Lancers closed out the game with a double play and strikeout to earn their second Freeway League win of the season.
Sunny Hills will look to remain undefeated in league play when they visit Sonora on Tuesday while Troy will seek to get their first league win when they visit Fullerton on Tuesday.