One injury in the game of softball can completely turn the tide. On Thursday afternoon, the Santa Clara Bruins hosted cross-town rival Wilcox without ace pitcher and cleanup hitter Victoria Latz in the lineup. The result for the Bruins wasn’t pretty.
Wilcox would drop a five spot in the top of the first inning en route to an 18-3 victory. Since Latz has thrown over 90-percent of the Bruins’ innings this year, her injury took away from what would have likely been a hotly contested matchup between the rival teams.
“Earlier this week she went to the chiropractor and she basically said ‘I shouldn’t pitch this week week’ and I was like ‘okay,’” remarked Santa Clara Head Coach Julie Kawamoto. “I’m not gonna chance having her injured more so. She didn’t want to pitch, which I understand, but her other position is first base, and Piper [Soto] has been doing a fantastic job [over there.]”
“It is a little bit weird, there is a different energy,” remarked senior shortstop Nevaeh Tayama on playing without Latz. “I’ve personally played with her since t-ball, so definitely a little bit weird. At the same time, you have to trust your other teammates to step up and fill that spot.”
In the opposite dugout, the Chargers were fully amped and ready to go from the start of this one. Not only did they drop a crooked number in the first inning, but they got quality pitching out of junior Marina Herrera. After losing 10-0 to Mountain View on Tuesday, the Chargers only allowed the Bruins to score twice over the first five innings.
“Incredible, absolutely incredible,” remarked Chargers Head Coach Vanessa Chagoya. “Even when she got deep into the inning with traffic on base, she still fought and still hit her spots which was really important because they are a good hitting team. She kept them off balance. She did great.”
On the offensive side of things it was Chargers’ junior Ameryss Meza who led the way with a total of six RBI, including a two-out, two-RBI single in the second and a three-run home run in the sixth.
“I remember Dre (teammate Adrianna Martinez) telling me to relax, because I’ve been in a slump. I listened to her, took a deep breath, relaxed and just hit it,” recalled Meza on her home run. “It really did feel good to get out of that slump and against the Bruins.”
“She’s one of the best hitters ever,” chuckled Herrera on Meza. “She puts up the runs for us and she makes me confident as a pitcher that I have wonderful hitters like her to have my back.”
With the victory, the Chargers are now in the win column in league play at 1-4, but their overall record is 2-12-1. Santa Clara meanwhile is still searching for their first league win of the season at 0-5, but are 6-6 overall.
Santa Clara next takes on Los Altos on Thursday, April 11. Wilcox meanwhile faces Capuchino out of San Bruno on Saturday, April 13.