By GERARDO RECINOS
The ability to hit the snooze button when waking up in the morning and get some extra sleep — and not be late – is something to be treasured.
So when they woke up on day two of the Livermore Stampede, and found out their contest against Mountain View was being pushed back two hours, I have to imagine the Lady Bulldog softball team was ecstatic.
And surely that feeling was relative to their 3-1 win over Mountain View’s Spartans, especially after suffering a shockingly heavy defeat in the opener.
True, the Lady Dogs rebounded from defeat by pounding Whitney-Rocklin 9-0 in the second game of day one, but having a losing record in pool play wasn’t going to fly.
Not for coach Paul Buccellato, nor for the girls on the team, who all looked equally frustrated and determined after suffering defeat.
But it didn’t get much easier.
Mountain View starter Ilona Sullivan was the second standout underclassmen pitcher the Bulldogs faced in pool play. Like the previous underclassmen, Sullivan too had un-hittable stuff. On many occasions her rise-ball made spectators question what the Bulldog hitters were swinging at, it was that good.
Even more so than against Foothill, the Bulldog bats struggled. Only able to muster four hits, Alhambra’s girls made them count, tacking on three earned runs to Sullivan’s ERA.
But don’t mistake the four hits and three RBIs as some sort of hitting clinic. Because two of those RBIs came due to some smart base running and smart fundamental softball.
Senior Miranda Nilson was one of four Bulldogs who got on base via hit in the contest, and two RBIs came in an unusual way. With the Spartans electing to pitch around Bri Perez (she walked twice) Alhambra was going to need other players to step up and deliver.
With two runners on, Nilson placed a perfect push bunt right where the defense wasn’t. Knowing the wheel play defense would be on, Nilson placed her bunt right past the pitcher, who was falling towards the plate, and could not contort her body towards the ball. As the shortstop was covering third to accommodate for the third basemen crashing in on the ball, the empty middle of the infield allowed Kimiko Zapanta and Perez to score despite the ball not leaving the infield.
With two runs of help on the score board in their first time asking, the Bulldogs provided Brianna Edwards with some much-needed leverage to attack the strike zone.
Edwards worked a good changeup into the mix, and scattered five hits in her six innings of work, only allowing a single run to score on a sacrifice fly in the top of the third inning.
From that point she only allowed two more hits, while Regan Silva added an extra run on the board via a booming double that was some of the first solid contact that the Bulldogs managed to get off of Sullivan.
Or at least loud contact that went for a hit. Because Lindsey Osmer managed to go 0-for-3 despite making some of the hardest contact of the contest. She was rewarded with a win for her team, but not so much in her batting average.
That’s softball for you.