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DV Softball defeated in their rivalry match against Dublin

Amanda Su and Karen Wang

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On May 11, 2017, the Dougherty Valley Varsity Softball Team lost their last game of the season in a tense rivalry match against the Dublin Gaels, 18-17.

Before the game began, senior captains Julia Galloway and Karina Flores discussed their hopes and expectations going into the match, especially regarding team cooperation and perseverance.   

Flores also noted a few technical aspects that the team has struggled with this season.

“We’ve been working a lot on bunt coverages and learning to be more aware about where we’re throwing the ball. Basically [working on] having more awareness during the game.”

Galloway agreed, and added that teamwork has also been a focus as of late.

“I think we’ve mostly struggled with communication, especially on the field. But for this game, I expect us to try our hardest and put it all out there on the field since it’s our last game of the season.”

Despite fighting words from both captains, the game started slow, with Dougherty making no runs in the first inning and Dublin scoring just one. The Gaels were quick to celebrate this, cheering “she’s a freshman!” as a jest to the older Dougherty players; Dublin has only one senior on its team. This chant proceeded to run through the entire games, with both the Wildcats and Gaels cheering “she’s a (class)” anytime their team members played well.

The Wildcats seemed to find their momentum in the second inning. Senior Jennifer Carrick made their first run as fellow senior Audrey Miller, Dougherty’s catcher, batted. (“She’s a senior!” chanted the Dougherty crowd). Sophomore Keiana Sieu also gave the Wildcats’ a huge boost by hitting the ball into far left field, allowing both senior Julia Galloway and freshman Samantha Tran to make runs. Senior Gena Galeano and junior Madison Suko also made runs during the inning. The Wildcats’ momentum carried over as they moved towards defense with junior Jessica Kim pitching, quickly getting the Gaels out with no runs. By the end of this inning, the score was 6-1 and the chances of victory were optimistic for the Wildcats.

Dougherty continued its momentum in the third inning, making a total of six runs again. Three of these six runs were made by Suko, Galloway and Tran, all of which occurred as a result of Sieu’s batting —  which also allowed her to reach third base. Sieu later also made a run herself along with junior Marisa Varni, both of which happened when Flores was at the plate. Towards the end of the inning, when Miller stepped up to bat, Flores made the Wildcats’ final run of the sixth inning, closing off the inning on a positive note and leaving the Wildcats with high expectations for the rest of the game. During this inning, the Gaels also sped up their pace and made a total of two runs. But despite their progress, the Wildcats still consistently tagged them out and prevented them from getting anywhere close to reaching or surpassing the Wildcats’ own score. Close toward the halfway mark, the scoreboard at this point read 12-3, in favor of the Wildcats.

The Wildcats’ lead began to crumble in the fourth inning, with the Gaels surging back defensively and offensively. The first three Dougherty batters — freshman Antonia Hernandez, sophomore Ingrid Hsu, and Galloway — were tagged out immediately, with each hitting into the short right field. The Gaels then made five runs, starting with a home run — which went over a fence into the nearby baseball field — that left Dougherty’s defense helpless. As the Gaels plowed through the Wildcat’s defense, Varni subbed in for Kim as pitcher. The inning ended soon after, with the Wildcats still in the lead at 12-8.

The Wildcats regrouped for a short, tense fifth inning. Seiu made a run as Carrick batted, then the Wildcats were out. As she ran back towards the team to discuss defense, Carrick kicked her own ankle and doubled over in a mixture of pain and self-deprecating laughter. Though teammates urged her to take a break, Carrick insisted, “I’m not sitting; it’s my last game.” Carricks injury proved not to be significant, as the strong Wildcat defense quickly outed the Gaels with no runs made.

In the sixth inning, the Wildcats continued to work hard, despite their decline in success during the fourth and fifth. Galloway, who was first to bat, was immediately tagged out at first base. But the disappointment from this setback was quickly forgotten and instead replaced with resounding cheers when Tran stepped up to the plate and was able to run quickly second base with ease. From there, the Wildcats continued to persevere. But several fouls committed by the Wildcats and numerous successful catches made by the Gaels left the Wildcats with no runs made by the end of the inning, despite their increased motivation which was fostered by several team huddles with coaches. The Gaels, however, were able to make a total of three runs, all of which occurred as a result of a home run hit by Dublin sophomore Brooke Promes. This home run was the first of the game and the first Promes would hit that day, but it was certainly not the last.

As the seventh inning began, it was anyone’s game. The Wildcats fought hard, making four runs in total. Carrick made the first, as Galeano batted. Sophomore Ashley Azarga made the second, as Galloway impressively hit a ball that was mere inches away from flying over the fence to the baseball field. Despite not making a home run, Galloway slid her way to third base and was declared “safe” in a close call. Galloway then made a run as Tran batted, and Tran made a run as Hsu batted. The Wildcats were making a strong comeback. However, as the Wildcats switched over to defense, it became clear that they had not fully regrouped from the previous few innings. Kim returned to the pitcher’s mound, in hopes to end the game strong for Dougherty. But despite the Wildcats’ best defensive efforts, Dublin’s offense proved to be stronger. They started with a homerun by their key player Promes, and got several other lucky runs in as the Wildcat’s defense fumbled. The game ended on a one point deficit for the Wildcats: 18-17.

Despite the loss, Head Coach Vince Felix mentioned that the Wildcats had played exceptionally well during the game.

“Today, we hit the ball and we ran the bases well. We scored 17 runs and … it’s very unusual to score that many runs in an average game.”

Felix also noted that there were “some calls could have gone either way, due to umpiring” that could have affected the score.

He also acknowledged Dublin’s strategic plays, saying “Dublin ran the bases very well and had a lot of really good and timely bunts. We got them a couple times, but they got us a couple more times. Usually, when you’re on defense you want to have a higher percentage of getting those plays. We just didn’t have a high enough percentage today.”

This game concluded the team’s 2017 season, which ended with a record of 6-16.

Despite Dougherty’s loss during this game against Dublin, Felix still remains proud of his team’s hard work, cooperation and mostly importantly, the close relationships the players built with one another and the relationships they built with their coaches over the entire season.

“I and the rest of my coaching staff are doing everything we can to root for every single one of [our players]. I don’t care if the kid plays the most or plays the least. We are cheering for them and are always in their corner every time. And when we see them have success, that’s always the best feeling. Just being able to high five them and ‘yeah kid, you did it! And you deserved that.’”

Looking forward to next season, Felix is optimistic about the softball team’s chances at success. He notes that there are three freshmen, three sophomores and three juniors on the current team who have many opportunities to improve for next season.

“For those nine girls, if they all make the team next year, they’ll mature and feel more comfortable saying ‘I belong on varsity.’ We play the toughest league in all of the Northern California. But I think that will do it: just them getting that confidence to learn to shake it off when something goes wrong and get back to to game.”

As for Flores, who won’t be returning next year, she advises future softball players to “enjoy your four years [in high school and on the team] because it goes by really fast.”

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DV Softball defeated in their rivalry match against Dublin