Does Rancho's defense deserve more credit from the media?

Posted by: Press Democrat correspondent Dewey Forget

Time and space constraints many times don’t allow us to give props to the many high school athletes that work hard.

Case-in-point: I received a very congenial call last week from a concerned mother, who felt the Rancho Cotate softball team’s defense was not receiving enough credit. With the outstanding pitching that top-level softball teams have, it’s easy to get caught up in their exploits, and on occasion we may fail to mention other contributors. This articulate Mom made the point that without the defense making the plays, the pitcher’s records and stats would suffer. On that I agree.

However, in the Montgomery-Rancho Cotate North Bay League tournament championship game – the game this mom was referencing – the pitchers dominated and deserve the credit. In my eyes, I didn’t see any outstanding defensive plays. Surely, the girls on both squads made the standard plays, and on a couple of occasions made nice plays, just not great plays.

Montgomery centerfielder Deven Kestler nearly made a great diving catch on a bloop behind second base and the Cougars’ shortstop Courtnie Morton ran under a semi-line drive to take a hit away from Amanda Kurt. It was a play that middle-infielders should make, and one that Morton made with relative ease. Montgomery’s Sarah Ferguson at second base flagged down a ball headed to right and back-handed it to first, but the ball was dropped. Almost a great play. On the flip side, Rancho’s winning run scored when a routine single to left was misplayed, allowing Oriani Poueu to score from first. The next batter made an out, hence the run was unearned.

People who follow softball know that pitching and defense are the key elements. And, I believe for the most part, we media types make mention of great plays, especially when they are an essential component of the contest.