Though the Yosemite High School softball team ended its season last week with a winless record in the North Sequoia League, the Badgers (5-18, 0-10 NSL) played in some of their closest contests yet and nearly eked out victories over strong rival teams.
Against Sierra (14-7, 5-5 NSL) on May 5 and Chowchilla (17-8, 7-3 NSL) May 9 at home for Senior Day, the Badgers lost 4-3 and 13-3, then were defeated by Washington Union (12-4, 4-6 NSL) 6-4 on the road May 12 to end the year.
The Sierra game proved to be one of the best performances for the Badgers all season, and the entire game came down to the final inning.
Up to that point, led by sophomore pitcher Angelina McBride - who threw a complete game and didn’t surrender a hit until the fifth inning - the Badgers held a 3-1 lead.
They took that lead by scoring two runs in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a walk by senior Katie Thompson, an RBI double by junior Kylie Seals, and an error that put sophomore Brandi Sneed on base while scoring Seals. Sneed also scored McBride in the bottom of the sixth with a hit into center field.
In the seventh, though, Sierra regained its offensive momentum. Junior Raquel Marquez got on base through an error, and McBride walked seniors Emily Grimbleby and Courtney Parks to load the bases. Senior Mackenzie Call flew out for an RBI, and junior Tyler Gonzales cracked a shot down the first base line that scored Grimbleby and Parks.
Though Yosemite loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, with one out, Thompson popped up to Sierra’s pitcher and McBride flew out to third base.
Freshman Rive Prater went 2-4, McBride 1-4 with a run, Seals 1-2 with a run and RBI, and Sneed 1-3 with an RBI.
Head Coach David Maynez said despite that loss and his team’s inability to get a league win this year, overall, the Badgers are improving each season.
“I feel we have improved from last season,” Maynez said. “We were in some games several times during league this year. It is in great contrast to last year when we were mercy ruled almost every league game.”
For Senior Day May 9, at home against Chowchilla, Chloe Pieper-Wasem, Courtney Herrera, Samantha Dedekian, and Thompson were all honored before the game and given balloons and candy by their teammates.
Maynez said his team would miss each senior player for a number of reasons. Thompson, he said, because she was a lead power hitter and a “wall” behind the plate as catcher, Pieper-Wasem for her positive leadership and outstanding outfield play, Dedekian for her strong effort in only her second year, and Herrera for her ability to close out games on the mound.
“The team will definitely be different without them,” Maynez said. “They will all be missed.”
Chowchilla, one of the league’s strongest teams, began its offensive strikes early, scoring all 13 runs in the first four innings. The Badgers scored a run in the fourth inning and two in the fifth, but the game ended 13-3.
Thompson went 1-2 with an RBI, junior Kelsey Montalto 1-1, and Sneed 1-2 in the game.
Then, against Washington Union, the Badgers fell behind 6-0 in the first two innings before managing to score four runs in the 6-4 loss.
The Badgers outhit the Panthers 8-6, led by Prater and Thompson who went 2-4 and 2-3. McBride came away with the loss on the mound.
At the team’s awards banquet on Monday, several players were honored by their teammates and coaches for their performance on the year. Prater earned the Most Valuable Player award, while Pieper-Wasem won Most Inspirational Player and the Teammate Award, Dedekian won Most Improved Player award, and Thompson won the Coaches Award.
Pieper-Wasem said she felt honored to win two awards, but all her teammates deserved recognition.
“Now that softball is over I think I am going to miss the unity the most,” Pieper-Wasem added. “Seeing the girls every afternoon, letting go of a day full of worries, and just playing softball.”
On the JV team, Emily Vanbalinghem won Most Valuable Player, Clarisssa Raimondo won Most Inspirational Player, Destiny Carter won Most Improved Player, and Makayla Cunnings won the Coaches Award.