The Tuesday, March 11 game was all but over after a 5-run second-inning outburst that saw the Cougars bang out three hits and take advantage of a walk and several errors to take a 7-0 lead they never relinquished.
Senior starting pitcher Adrianne Cope pitched her first complete game of the year, 5-inning 2-hit, 1-walk masterpiece that ended early due to the 10-run mercy rule.
Cope is coming off a hamstring injury suffered during the winter soccer season.
“It was really good to be back,” she said. “I definitely have room for improvement, but I have a good defense to back me up.”
Behind Cope, third baseman Rachel Smith made several strong plays, including throwing a runner out at second base on a sacrifice bunt attempt.
The SLV rest of the defense was solid, after several big innings during the weekend tournament.
On offense, leadoff hitter Erika Arriola was hot, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBI.
Bailey Lotz, Erica Costella and Cope’s younger sister Maddy Cope each had two hits and Costella, Jocelyn Jones and Smith each had two RBI.
Head Coach Mark Brown said the team has good balance to it, up and down the 15-player roster.
“The kids can play a lot of different positions,” he said. “There are no superstars on this team, but we have a lot of good ballplayers. That’s great for us coaches.”
Eliminating mistakes will be the key to winning games as the season progresses, Brown said.
The team has five seniors who offer leadership to the group. Along with Adrianne Cope, Lotz and Arriola, Shelby McDermott and Brooke Scothorn are seniors.
Brown said the team has great chemistry.
“We need to continue to get better and keep our mistakes to a minimum,” Brown said. “If we do that, I think we can compete with almost anybody.”
Adrienne Cope said the early returns have been good.
“We’re close,” she said. “We’ve definitely gotten stronger this year. I think we’re going to have a strong season.”
The Cougars have two more non-league games, today, Friday, March 14 when they host Soledad at 4 p.m. and travel to North Salinas High School at 4:30 p.m. March 18.
Their first league game will be at Scotts Valley High School at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20.