Warren remaining close
By Pat Turner
Holmes (12-1, 6-0) is the leader in District 28-6A softball, but Warren (9-4, 5-1) is making sure the Huskies don’t get too much breathing room.
The Huskies put an earlier 2-1 loss to Holmes on the shelf and have reeled off three straight wins, two coming this past week in shutout fashion over Jay (5-0) and Taft (6-0).
Annika Litterio tossed three hitters in both outings while striking out 14 Jay batters and 13 in the Taft contest.
The pitcher also contributed on the offensive side with consecutive 2-for-3 performances.
Hitting highlights also came from Lauryn Hernandez, who went 2 for 3 against Jay and unloaded a three-run home run against Taft.
Tori Jimenez, Austin Germain and Dynasty Harpel also delivered clutch hits.
“We’re slowly getting back into it,” Warren coach Melanie Morales said. “We’re still not hitting the way we need to hit, but we’re making progress. I think we’ll get back there.”
Warren came into the season with high expectations after advancing to the Region IV finals a year ago before falling to New Braunfels Canyon. The Warriors returned all but one player, and the experience is making a difference.
Now, they’re looking to build on that success.
“Last year really helped us,” Morales said. “We got a lot of experience. But I told the girls every team is going to give them their best game. They’re going to give it their all. We have to play our best.”
Holmes is doing it all it can to keep a lock on first place.
The Huskies flexed their muscle this past week in a 7-1 smashing of Taft and an 11-0 zapping of Brandeis.
The bats were alive in both contests.
Ariana Martinez (2 for 4, 3 RBIs), Jalissa Alicea (2 for 4), who also provided top-notch pitching in both contests, and Grace Martinez (2 for 3) came up with the big hits against Taft.
That momentum carried over into the Brandeis contest.
The game was scoreless the first three innings, but Brandeis had its chances to take command early after putting runners on base each inning. However, Alicea braved through the trouble, which included escaping a bases-loaded jam in the third without a scratch.
Eventually, Holmes’ offense got cranking, beginning with a three-run fourth on Alyssa Rojas’ two-run single and a sacrifice fly by Grace Martinez.
Erykah Guerrero lashed a two-run homer in the fifth and another run crossed the plate in the sixth on Ariana Martinez’s single.
“We’re keeping a positive attitude,” Ariana Martinez said. “I felt good at the plate. I had a lot more confidence in myself. We have confidence in each other.”
“We’re feeling good right now, but we have to keep a humble head and keep improving.”
Brennan (9-4, 4-2) fell out of a second-place tie with Warren following a 2-1 loss to Clark (7-4, 3-3).
Sierra Schottler’s RBI single gave Brennan a 1-0 lead in the first. Clark tied the score in the third on Sidney Campion’s run-scoring single.
The Cougars moved in front in the fourth when Campion reached on a bunt single and eventually came home on Victoria Hernandez’s liner to right.
Kaitlyn Ponthier, who tossed a three-hitter, kept the Cougars lead secure by holding the Bears to two baserunners the final three innings.
A defensive highlight came in the fifth. After a Brennan batter reached on an error, Abby Garcia snagged a shot in right field and erased the potential tying run with a throw to catcher Carina Rodriguez.
Garcia and Rodriguez also turned a similar double play during Clark’s 6-3 win over Stevens. Rodriguez also showed her bat power by drilling a two-run homer and a run-scoring double.
Madison Cuellar did her part in the sixth. With Clark clinging to a 3-2 lead, Cuellar unloaded a three-run triple to give the Cougars much-needed insurance.
Prior to the setback, Brennan pounded out a 15-3 win over Marshall.
The Bears broke the game open by exploding for a 12-0 lead through the first three innings, starting with five in the opening frame.
Brennan had a number of contributors, including Schottler (1 for 4, 3 RBIs), Alexis Camacho (2 for 3, 3 RBIs), Hailey Neira (2 for 3, 2 RBIs), Jayden Abrego (2 for 2, 2 RBIs) and Christina Michel (1 for 2, 2 RBIs).
O’Connor (4-3, 4-2) moved into a third-place tie with by Brennan topping Brandeis, 6-4, and zipping past Marshall, 18-2.
Brandeis jumped on O’Connor for an early 3-0 lead, but the Panthers tied the score and broke through with three runs in the sixth by taking advantage of three errors and a two-run single by Leighann Goode.
A big inning was also the difference against Marshall. O’Connor scratched out a 3-2 lead through the first three innings but broke things open with an 11-run explosion in the fourth.
Four errors and walks helped the Panthers, along with a two-run single from Goode and a run-scoring hit by Dani Pedraza.