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Inauspicious Start to Santa Clara Softball Season

The Santa Clara Bruins softball squad opened the season at home on Tuesday afternoon against Woodside and it was the visiting Wildcats who got off to a fast start and never looked back.

Initially, it looked like luck might be on the Bruins’ side when the first pitch of the game was hammered on a line drive, but it was right at Bruins shortstop Averie Lopez, one pitch, one out. Unfortunately for Santa Clara supporters, the Wildcats would still manage to push across two runs in the top of the first.

Woodside took advantage of free passes and wild pitches, scoring its first run prior to getting its first hit. The Wildcats would heat up even more with the bats in the second inning, putting the game away with a seven-run second. Eventually, the Wildcats would walk away with a 13-0 victory in five innings.

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While it looks to be another rebuilding type of season for the Bruins after the 10-run-rule defeat, Bruins Head Coach Julie Kawamoto sounded optimistic about the young talent on the squad, led by the aforementioned Lopez. The Bruins first-year shortstop made multiple impressive defensive plays, stole two bases and broke up the Wildcats’ no-hitter attempt in the third inning with a solid single.

“I feel like our team this year is more well-rounded [than last season],” noted Kawamoto. “We have some freshmen that came in and are doing a really good job for us.”

“Averie plays basketball, so yesterday was her very first practice,” continued Kawamoto on Lopez. “She has experience playing softball and we knew we could put her in wherever on the field. She definitely came through for us today.”

Additional standouts for the Bruins in Tuesday’s opener were Giselle Valdez, Malana Dinwiddie and Chloe Boyes. Valdez made a nice diving catch in center field and had a line drive single in the Bruins’ final at bats in the fifth.

Dinwiddie drew a walk in one of her plate appearances and showed off impressive flexibility at first base, stretching out to earn her infield teammates multiple close outs at first base.

Boyes impressed from behind the plate, blocking balls in the dirt, and her first-inning walk was the Bruins’ first base runner of the game.

Despite the lopsided loss, the Bruins have some talent. The biggest challenges for Santa Clara will be youth and health. Missing to start the season from a year ago are arguably three of the team’s best players. Vanessa Calvillo led off for the Bruins in 2023 and she has since gone onto college. Jazzy Ramirez, last season’s speedy No. 3 hitter, is on the mend from a shoulder injury and last season’s brilliant catcher, Evonne Bergman, chose not to play this season.

It’s certainly disappointing for Bruins softball fans, given this season could have potentially been one where the team got off to a great start. With Lopez, Dinwiddie and starting pitcher Jordyn Guzman in the lineup as three really solid hitters, add in Ramirez and Bergman, and Santa Clara could have a core five able to carry the team to some early season wins and potentially a playoff spot.

Santa Clara will look to bounce back and get in the win column with its young lineup on Thursday against Homestead.

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1 Comment
  1. Yay sports 1 month ago
    Reply

    If we want to see more successful HS sports teams, SCUSD should be doing more to support our local non-profit youth sports organizations! They add more to our community than the credit they are given, fulfilling a community need SCUSD isn’t.

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