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Firebirds Fall to Branham, But Battle Tough in Middle Innings

On the outside looking in, the 2020 season for the Fremont Firebirds softball squad may appear to be a rebuilding season. The team features only two seniors on their roster in sisters Ashley and Samantha Densing and the team is off to an 0-4 start. However, Fremont is coming off a season last year that saw them win the El Camino League with an 11-1 record. That team also only had two seniors in Kianna Lum and Lauren Hamasaki.

Therefore, despite being forced to move up into the tougher De Anza division, the Firebirds could prove to be a competitive team this year. They are returning the majority of their championship roster from last season and showed some spark against hard-throwing Branham pitcher Carissa Rivera in Monday’s loss.

The final score Monday certainly wasn’t pretty, as the Firebirds lost to the Bruins by a 15-1 score. However, Head Coach Tony Phillips’ squad settled down in the middle innings after seeing an eight-run barrage dropped against them in the top of the first. Over the next four innings the Firebirds conceded just two runs and started having some impressive at bats in the fourth and fifth innings.

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In the bottom of the fourth Anne Hu hit a soft line drive into center field that initially appeared like it would fall in for a hit, but hung up long enough for the Bruins center fielder to make the catch. Kylie Johnson followed up with a deep fly ball to center field that was caught just short of the warning track. Mia North drew a two-out walk to give the Firebirds their first base runner.

While Fremont wouldn’t score in the inning, they sustained some momentum with a quick one-two-three inning on defense and their bats continued to heat up in the bottom of the fifth. Lindsey Schulze led off with a sharp single up the middle. With one on and nobody out Angel Torres then smashed a double to the fence in left center. Two batters later Ashley Densing would deliver the team’s lone run of the game with a sacrifice fly.

“Since we’ve been freshman, it has been kind of the same thing, we start off slow and then after the second or third inning we get back into our groove,” said junior Emma Caires, one of two captains on the Firebirds roster along with fellow junior Anne Hu. “When we get our rhythm going, we can hit, we can field and we’re all playing as a team.”

“We’ve been working on coming out with a lot of energy in the beginning of the game, that has been our main focus,” acknowledged Hu. “If we can take the energy from the middle quick innings and transferring that to the first couple innings is what we’re working on.”

Pitching-wise in those middle innings, the Firebirds put up some zeros behind right-hander Emily Yau and southpaw Katie Lee. The potential on both sides of the ball is clearly evident for this team to surprise their new division foes this season.

Fremont has three more non-league contests remaining before they open up their league schedule at home against Mountain View on March 18.

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