The Wilcox Chargers softball squad had every reason to let Saturday’s game against Sobrato slip away from them. It was the third day in a row they were playing a game and ace pitcher Justine Valdivia was slated for a day off from pitching.
Sobrato is not a part of the De Anza League either, so it wasn’t a league contest for the Chargers. However, after going down 2-0 in the first inning, the Chargers dug in their cleats and went to work.
Valdivia would come in for relief this time instead of starting, and the senior ace allowed just one earned run in seven innings of work. The defense behind her and in front of her with battery mate Kaylee Stone was fantastic. A combination of great pitching and defense gave the offense plenty of time to get back into the game.
Wilcox tied things up at 2-2 in the third. Sam Bianchi led things off with a bloop single into right field. Stone dropped a sacrifice bunt, moving Bianchi to second. That brought up leadoff hitter Jessica Gutierrez whose infield single put runners at the corners.
Lauren Rodriguez knocked in a run with a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to 2-1. Reyna J. Hernandez followed suit with a scorching double into the right-center field gap to score Gutierrez and tie the game up at two.
In the top of the fourth, the very first pitch from Valdivia would be smoked over the center field wall and just like that, Sobrato was back in front 3-2.
Wilcox’s players could have easily dropped their heads, but instead, they stuck with it. Defensively, they were on point all game. Stone threw out two would-be base stealers. Gutierrez threw out a runner at first from deep in the hole at short, and Tyler Scott snagged a tricky short hop at third base to throw out a runner and save a run from scoring in the third.
Wilcox would tie things back up in the fifth. Stone got things started with a line drive double down the left-field line. Gutierrez then knocked her home with a single to make it a 3-3 ball game.
After Gutierrez was thrown out trying to steal, Rodriguez drew a walk, setting the table for Hernandez. The Chargers’ three hitter launched a shot over the fence in left-center field for a two-run homer.
“It was a missed location, right down the middle,” chimed Hernandez on her home run. “I was just really in the zone, kept my head down and it went over the fence.”
Wilcox would tack on two more runs in the sixth on an opposite-field triple from Gutierrez.
“I was looking to hit a hard ground ball. The infield was in. She was throwing me outside all game, so I got up on the line and just waited for a strike,” chimed Gutierrez. “I attacked the pitch and ended up being a nice ground ball.”
The offensive contributions were aplenty for the Chargers, but Head Coach Mark Gutierrez was most impressed with his team’s resiliency.
“I like the fact that when we got down, it didn’t matter,” chimed the Chargers’ skipper. “We came back. We fought. I have high expectations of what we can do offensively, so what I told them in the huddle, it doesn’t matter if they are up by one or two, we are going to come back.”