The Santa Clara Bruins varsity softball squad is going through a tough season this year. A record of 1-7 in league and 2-17 overall leaves coaches and players desiring better results. However, compared to the first month of the season, the team is showing signs that a turnaround isn’t far off.
On Tuesday afternoon the Bruins traveled to Palo Alto to take on the Vikings and Santa Clara hung tough for the majority of the game. Leadoff hitter Vanessa Calvillo smoked a single to start the game, stole second and eventually came around to score, putting the Bruins on top 1-0. Starting pitcher Priscilla Medina threw strikes and limited the free passes which had hurt Santa Clara earlier in the season. The Vikings would tie the game with a run in the bottom of the first, but that’s all they would get.
In the top of the second, the bottom of the Bruins’ order set the table with a pair of walks. One of those walks was a spirited at bat from number nine hitter Haley Birton. While the Bruins couldn’t capitalize on the two-out rally, they would add two more runs in the fourth inning. The key hit in the frame was Calvillo’s triple to drive in a run. The two-run fourth pulled the Bruins back within a 6-3 score, very much in the game.
Whilst said score eventually got away from Santa Clara, the 13-3 loss was far more inspiring from a developmental perspective. The Bruins have clearly improved in pitching, defense and hitting from where they were at the start of the season.
“The last few games we’ve definitely picked it up with the bats,” chimed Bruins catcher Evonne Bergman. “We’re definitely more confident swinging and we trust each other more. We’re working together as a team instead of wanting it just for ourselves. We’re coming together for sure.”
“Yes, absolutely,” confirmed Bruins Head Coach Julie Kawamoto on whether her team has improved since the start of the season. “The kids are starting to step up no matter what grade they are in, that’s huge. Evo [Evonne Bergman] today, I don’t know how many balls went by her, but Vanessa [Calvillo] was like ‘I don’t think any balls got by her’. She was all over it back there. She had a couple hits too.”
While the hits were impressive, the highlight of the day for the Bruins was when Calvillo and Bergman teamed up to cut down a run at the plate with the Vikings trying a double steal. Bergman hopped up from her crouch, made a strong throw towards the second base bag. Calvillo stepped in and took the throw in front of the bag and then fired home back to Bergman who dropped the tag on the runner trying to score.
The Bruins have four more games to try and continue building towards next season. They have two very winnable games against Monta Vista on April 28 and Lynbrook on May 3.
Santa Clara’s senior night will be on May 5 against Cupertino and the Bruins softball season wraps up May 12 with a game at Saratoga.