It may sound contradictory, but Thursday’s softball rivalry game between the Santa Clara Bruins and Wilcox Chargers was an incredibly intriguing blowout. The outcome of the game was pretty much decided after two innings as the Bruins led 9-0 en route to a 20-1 blowout victory. For a lopsided game however, it was actually pretty exciting. Starting pitcher Kathryn Caravalho nearly threw a no-hitter, shortstop Hailey Hiett recorded her 100th high school hit and second baseman Vanessa Bontrager hit the first grand slam in the 10-year history of the Bruins softball field.
“One-hundredth hit, and 101st, and 102nd,” chuckled Bruins Head Coach John Rahbar on Hiett’s milestone as part of the senior’s four-hit game. “That’s just a true testament of playing everyday, not getting injured.”
Hiett admitted after the game that the milestone hit was indeed on her mind. Fortunately for her she got it out of the way early as part of a three-run first inning rally for the home team. In the very next inning Bontrager would push a then 5-0 lead to 9-0 with a grand slam to left field.
“The first pitch I was really out in front, I didn’t swing at it, but my timing was off. It was right down the middle though and the second pitch was right down the middle as well. I just waited on it and hit it,” noted Bontrager on her grand slam at bat. “I actually thought it was going to be a flyout to be honest with you.”
The wind was certainly pushing balls out to left field on the afternoon and the grand slam was probably aided a bit by the elements. Nonetheless, Bontrager put a good swing on the ball to get it out over the fence. Other notable offensive contributors for the Bruins were Alyson Teixeira, Anjelina Manuel, Rosie Quezada and Natasha Sachdeva. Interestingly enough though, the offensive explosion may have hurt the chances of a special day on the pitcher’s rubber.
In the top of the fifth inning a hard hit comebacker caromed off Caravalho over towards Hiett at shortstop. Hiett’s strong throw looked to be just in time for the out, but the first-base umpire called the runner safe. Wilcox had plenty of batters reach base previously, but none via a base hit. This infield single was a super close call that could have gone either way. With all the Chargers baserunners reaching via hit-by-pitcher, a potential no-hitter wasn’t as obvious as it may have otherwise been.
Coming that close to a no-hitter only to have a debatable call take it away is unfortunate, but it’s nearly impossible to wipe a smile of Caravalho’s face. She continued to pitch and finish out the inning with the game ending after the top of the fifth due to mercy rule.
No no-hitter, but the Bruins will take the win as they sweep the season series against the rival Chargers. Santa Clara just moved up to join Wilcox in the more competitive De Anza division this season. To come away undefeated in three games against a rival school the very first time you get to play them in league? Coach Rahbar with a short and sweet response:
“It’s a beautiful thing.”