Softball Home Conference vs. Bear’s 4/12

Freshman+Bibi+Rodriguez+swings+during+Fridays+game+against+Big+Bear%2C+where+she+scored+a+run+during+the+4th+inning.

Leslie Tello

Freshman Bibi Rodriguez swings during Friday’s game against Big Bear, where she scored a run during the 4th inning.

Leslie Tello, Journalist

Friday, the 12th of April, country songs like Thomas Rhett’s “Look What God Gave Her” and Chad Brownlee’s “Forever’s Gotta Start Somewhere” played during warm-ups at the softball team’s away game at Big Bear. The crowd consisting of under 40 people and 3 dogs excitedly awaited the beginning of the game. Everyone (including the canines) came prepared with thick layers and heaters at their disposals. Despite fears of an unbearably cold game, the temperature of 45 degrees was actually “nice” compared to last year’s game. The Bears practiced swinging at nets while the Jags pitched the ball to one another on the field.

After the game, sophomore Lita Suarez (#17) was asked if the team did anything out of the ordinary to prepare for the game. She said they did not deviate from their regular throwing and pitching; they had only tried to be more aggressive with their playing. This strategy proved successful; the home conference resulted in a win of 10-0 in favor of the Jags. The score updated UP’s league record from 8-0 to 9-0 and Big Bear’s record from 7-1 to 7-2.

Before the game started, the Jags began to huddle around the dirt for a few moments. The girls moved back to reveal a white circle with numbers around it. Regarding the tradition, freshman Bibi Rodriguez (#8) said it is something they do every game. “I don’t really know why we do it but I’m sure it’s been passed down through UP.”

Once the clock struck 3:15, it was time to play ball. Senior Fernanda Cantu (#10) was the first to bat during the 1st inning. She was walked to first base. With the assistance of batters sophomore Alina Lopez (#6) and Rodriguez, Cantu was able to make the first run of the game.

2nd inning went by in a flash. Both teams were enthusiastically singing chants and songs of encouragements to their teammates. At the bottom of the inning, the sun made a welcome appearance.

Both teams started to tense up during the 3rd inning. While Lopez was at bat, the bases were fully loaded with freshman Victoria Mendez (#1) at 1st, sophomore Paige Zimmerman (#13) at 2nd, and Bibi Rodriguez (#8) at 3rd. The crowd collectively gasped when she made contact with the ball. Although Rodriguez got out, Zimmerman scored the second run of the game. Although Mendez managed to make it to 3rd later, she did not add to the score.

Not to be outdone, the Bears also had fully loaded bases during the 3rd inning. Sophomore Mia Ortega (#2), freshman Kylie Huscka (#17), and Senior Cassidy Rojas (#12) were at 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base respectively. The defensive UP players prevented any of them from running. One of the dogs began to bark at all the emotion of the game.

The 4th inning was a very eventful one for the Jaguars. Sophomore Darlene Davidson (#3) was allowed to walk to 1st base after the ball went flying past the catcher and hit the back wall. She had made it to 3rd base by the time Zimmerman was at bat. Her contact with the ball prompted Davidson to score the third run. Shortly after, it was revealed that a screw was missing from one of the helmets. The short delay did not hinder the girls. All the batters, especially Mendez, sophomore Hannia Espinoza (#23), and Davidson made the following 7 runs possible. Mendez, senior Stacy Gonzalez (#7), Rodriguez, senior Jazmin Cisneros (#11), Zimmerman, Suarez, and Espinoza each scored a run. The score now 10-0, it looked negative for the Bears; however, there was still a chance. According to MaxPreps.com, the Bears tend to do better than the Jags after the 4th inning.

When asked why she thought that was, Bear sophomore Bella Joha (#10) said that her team gets more excited and awake. They can also “get inside [their] heads” sometimes, leading them to tap out. “Once we’re not in each others’ heads and we’re all like really hyped… that’s when we do good.”

The score remained the same after the 5th inning. Coach Zimmerman called it “spectacular” and said defense and pitching were the highlight of the game, considering how they stopped the Bears from scoring, even with bases fully loaded. It seems like aggression was the right tactic after all.