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Pierce girls hold off Princeton
New players, new positions and few practices often make the first few weeks of a new sports season an adventure, especially in a sport such as softball where timing and eye-hand coordination are imperative.
For the Pierce and Princeton high softball teams, Thursday's game was less about the final score and more about learning through immersion.
Though the Bears won in a 14-12 seven-inning game, both teams came away with better understanding of what they have to work with this season.
Exactly half of Pierce's 14-player roster is freshmen but three seniors - pitcher Aloysa Anderson, shortstop Nikki Herrera and outfielder Ellen Hansen, - anchor the young team.
Anderson returns for her second season as the team's primary pitcher and enters the season with a strong mental approach to the game, coach Jennifer Barham said.
Herrera, who doubled and scored twice, moved from second base to shortstop and provides sure-handed defense and a quality bat hitting in the middle of the order. Hansen missed Thursday's game with an illness but is an experienced outfielder.
Juniors outfielder Haleigh Shadinger and third-baseman Hilary Brainard sparked the Bears offense on Thursday with multiple-hit games. Brainard doubled and tripled, and Shadinger hit a double and scored three runs.
Several freshmen are taking over crucial roles in their first season at the varsity level, Barham said.
"We still have kinks to work out but they're a very competitive group so that's a good thing, they have a lot of potential but being a younger team we'll see what we can do," Barham said.
Riley Voorhees takes over first base duties and showed she's ready for the varsity level with a 2 for 5 day at the plate.
Julia Dye steps in at catcher and showed improvement handling base runners in the team's second game. Her ability to work with the pitchers has Barham excited about Dye's potential.
"So far I've been very impressed with how well she's doing, she has a really good glove back there. Especially after losing a very good catcher, I was very concerned about that (position)," Barham said.
Pierce improved to 1-1 after opening the season with a 10-0 loss to Lower Lake on Wednesday. Last season the Bears finished 4-10.
Princeton showed flashes of their potential but too often were hamstrung by their lack of time on the field. The Eagles (0-1) had just three practices before their first game but have an experienced core of players and several talented youngsters.
"We seemed to fall apart there with two outs on the field, but we'll work on that, we'll work the bugs out," Princeton coach Mary Lohse said.
Junior Lauren Ferreira moves to catcher this year and had a strong day at the plate, hitting 3 for 5 with a double and three runs scored.
She catches for junior ace Amanda Hansen and fireballer Gaby Rodriguez, who both saw time in the pitcher's circle on Thursday. Hansen also hit an inside-the-park 2-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut the Bears' lead in half.
Junior Maryssa Martin anchors first base and provides a big bat near the top of the lineup. Senior Ashley McMartin takes over duties at third base after playing middle infield much of last season. Freshman Laura Mitchell gives the Eagles a versatile player who can play both infield and outfield positions while contributing with her bat.
"Rachel Robledo came back from last year and she's shown a lot of growth and progress. Also, we've got Autumn Pina, she transferred from Colusa," Lohse said.
Last season the Eagles finished 8-8-2 and lost to Maxwell in the first round of the playoffs.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.