Dougherty Valley Women’s Varsity Softball defeated Monte Vista with a definitive sweep of 10-0 at a home game on March 21 after starting on a series of highs and lows this season.
Their victory was primarily due to their intense practices, including numerous laps around the softball field under the hot sun, and drills in the infield and outfield to practice muscle memory. Most of all, the team was making sure they were mentally prepared to play against their opponents.
“Our weakness is our mental toughness. That is what we have to get over now. We need to get over that toughness of not letting one miscue affect the entire game,” said head coach Vince Felix.
The team focused on hitting as well, as it has been somewhat inconsistent in their previous games.
“Right now we are focusing on hitting. Our defense is really good but our hitting can improve because we didn’t hit that well last game,” said captain Christina Garcia, senior.
The results of their practices showed right from the beginning, where the team had good coverage of the outfield. The Wildcats were able to catch pop-ups hit from the opposing team with ease, allowing them to get three players from Monte Vista out and switch to offense. Then the Wildcats were able to score more runs because of pitcher Sejal Govindarao’s fast balls.
Monte Vista lacked the ability to hit a fastball far into the outfield because of her pitching, causing most of their team to get out at first base where Senior Ashley Arzaga of DV would catch the ball. While the score was 2-0 in favor of Dougherty in the first inning, the Wildcats were playing as a team, and not individual players, which helped pave the way for high agility and better focus.
“I think our game was really good. I think keeping the energy up and communication helped,” said Arzaga.
While the game continued into the second and third innings, Monte Vista continued to make careless mistakes, costing them in errors and runs.
Dougherty remained sharp and able to take advantage of Monte Vista mistakes. Senior and catcher for DV Riley Barber was attentively watching the ball when Monte Vista hitter swung at Govindarao’s pitch, missing by a long shot. But the ball managed to barely touch the hitter’s bat, causing the ball to fly behind her due of lack of positioning. Barber immediately went for the ball that was landing behind her, dove under and caught the ball to make it two outs for Monte Vista.
During the fourth inning, when it was Dougherty’s turn to hit again, sophomore Michaela Smith and Arzaga both hit strong, landing them onto the third and first bases, respectively.
Now, it was Garcia’s turn to hit. With all eyes on Smith on third base, the pressure was on Garcia to be able to allow her teammate a smooth run home. Coach Felix, on the sidelines, gave Garcia the numbers for the play. Garcia hit a light ball, causing Monte Vista’s outfielders to panic with frantic hands all going for the ball that was meant to trick them. Smith slid home, making the score 5-0 for DV. The Wildcats were scoring better than almost any of their other games.
“I was pretty happy, I feel like I gained confidence in myself because I got a couple good hits, and then everyone did well on the team, so I think that’s why we scored so much,” said junior Antonia Hernandez.
Defense was also on their A-game as the Wildcats continued with high energy, no sign of fatigue within the team. With the help of senior Ingrid Hsu and Keiana Sieu’s fast and accurate throws, they were able to get Monte Vista’s Ashley Frantz and Cara Rickey out.
Though Monte Vista had not made any runs by the beginning of the sixth inning, the result of the game still seemed unclear, as both teams were playing well. But Dougherty’s strong lead in the first half of the game would aid them in confidence because it was more of a mental game for the Wildcats now.
“We’ve all been focusing on trying to become mentally stronger. Because it’s really the toughest part of softball: the mental part of it,” said Arzaga.
The sixth inning started with solid hits by DV’s Hernandez and pitcher Govindarao. However, junior Sam Tran was the player who really seemed to close out the game in favor of DV. With a strong and swift hit all the way to the American flag on the end of the field, Tran sprinted all way home with the cheers of her teammates behind her. The score was 6-0, DV.
In a desperate attempt to change the course of the game, Monte Vista changed their pitcher to number 22, A. Malhotra. Even though Malhotra’s intimidating pitch may have caused some worry, Dougherty was already on a roll.
In the final minutes, Hsu, Sieu, Smith, and Arzaga all ran home with smiles on their faces, knowing that the game was decided in their favor. The game ended with a whopping score of 10-0, DV. Monte Vista left the field with sympathetic encouragements from parents and their heads hanging.
“I think all of us were really pumped because we’ve played Monte Vista before, and they were a really fun team to play. All of us had high energy so that’s how we won,” Govindarao summed up.