By GERARDO RECINOS
There has yet to be a statistic that measures hard hit balls in high school sports, but if there was, both teams would have piled up the numbers.
Alhambra’s 7-3 win over Northgate on April 20 saw the Bulldogs pound out 11 hits, five of which were extra base hits, in a solid effort at the plate. But don’t be fooled, it could’ve been more.
Alhambra scored a pair of runs in their first time of asking in the bottom of the first inning. Senior first basemen Regan Silva hit a line-drive two-run home run on the first pitch she saw on the afternoon. But that inning could’ve played out differently, had Karlee Sparacino’s line drive out not been caught.
And then again in the third inning, the Bulldogs put a crooked number on the score board.
The bottom of the line up set up the second scoring outburst.
Catcher Maci Shepherd and Morgan Azevedo each singled to spark the rally after one out, and nine-hole hitter Kaylee Pond drove in a run via sacrifice fly.
Back-to-back triples by Kimiko Zapanta and Bri Perez, and a single by Karlee Sparacino plated three runs and put Alhambra up 6-0.
If you compared this to a boxing prize fight, you would’ve said on of the two fighters was knocked down in the first round.
But importantly, the Broncos from Northgate weren’t done.
Junior Brianna Edwards hadn’t been troubled too much with the Northgate hitters the first time through the line up, but once they had seen what they had to offer, the Broncos could tee off with a better idea of what the right-hander in the circle was going to do.
Sophomore catcher Haley Randall doubled down the right-field line to start the inning, but the Broncos couldn’t put together a pair of hits to put together a big inning. They did however take advantage of an uncharacteristic error by one of Alhambra’s infielders to put across a pair of runs.
Of the three runs Edwards allowed in the Thursday afternoon contest, only one of them was earned. And it didn’t come until after the Bulldogs had gotten her one more insurance run.
Another senior, Miranda Nilson, hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Zapanta, who had reached on a single, stole second, and was moved over to third on a bunt single by Sparacino.
So that when the Broncos loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning, the junior Edwards was able to settle in and get out of the jam.
One run did score on an RBI ground ball, but Edwards shut the door by getting freshman Katie Hicks to fly out to center field.
Northgate offered little struggle from that point on, even when the Bulldogs failed to punch in a couple of runs with two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Sparacino lined out, and Silva struck out with runners on, but Edwards only needed eight pitches to get the win and finish off the complete game effort.