Led by junior catalyst Abigail Klahold, the Santa Clara Bruins had their bats working early in the first two innings on Tuesday. Taking on the Homestead Mustangs, the Bruins scratched off a run in the top of the first and three in the second. Klahold led off the game with a walk, and later scored on an RBI groundout by Vanessa Calvillo.
After seeing their lead evaporate in the bottom of the first by giving up a pair of runs, Santa Clara came right back with authority. Rachelle Martin-Vera led off the second with a sharp single through the five-and-a-half hole. Starting pitcher Piper Soto followed that up with a walk.
Two batters later Twyla Dzerigian tied the game up with an RBI groundout. At that point, the lineup turned back over and Klahold smoked a line drive into the gap in left-center field for another RBI, putting the Bruins back in front at 3-2. Calvillo followed up by knocking in Klahold with a single to extend the lead. Hailey Tran continued the hitting barrage with a sharp single, but the Vikings would escape the jam on a groundout from the next batter to end the inning.
“I think I had a full count and I knew I was going to get something good over the plate so I was just trying to hit it hard,” said Klahold on her RBI double in the second. “At that point, it was still a close game, so just trying to get as many runs on the board as we could.”
The Bruins needed as many runs as they could get because the Mustangs responded to Santa Clara’s three spot with a six-run inning of their own. Santa Clara gave away eight free passes in the inning, six walks, a hit batsmen and an error fueled the Vikings rally.
Despite the long inning in the field, Klahold certainly didn’t allow herself to have any lapses in concentration. The junior showed off her strong defensive game at shortstop, making tough stops and strong throws to first base.
“I tell myself how many outs there are, and I pay attention to the runners so I know what to do with the ball when I get it,” explained Klahold on how she stays on her toes. “I have to trust my instincts and know where I need to go with the ball if I get it because I don’t want to let me team down.”
Klahold’s defense was key in keeping the Bruins in the game in that inning. Without her efforts, the 8-4 deficit at the end of the second could have been much worse. Unfortunately for Santa Clara fans, the game eventually did get away from them, losing by a 14-4 final.
On the bright side, the Bruins feel they can take away positives that they can hang with teams like the Vikings, who are in the upper division.
“They are in a higher division, but I kinda feel like we had them early,” said Tran on the first couple innings. “We were very confident, but little mistakes and errors got us.”
Head Coach Julie Kawamoto acknowledged after the game her squad is dealing with some injuries too. As they move forward, Santa Clara should see some wins coming in the near future.
Santa Clara will next take on Oak Grove on Thursday, March 12.