NBL softball: Cougars storm to lopsided victory

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rancho Cotate played its best game of the season on Tuesday while visiting Maria Carrillo couldn’t do much right at the plate or in the field.

Given that scenario, it wasn’t surprising the final score of the North Bay League contest turned out to be 10-1.

While the Cougars were banging out 12 hits and playing error-free ball, the Pumas managed only three hits and committed three errors.

Rancho broke the game open by scoring seven times in the third and fourth innings while Carrillo’s lone run came in the first.

Kazja Fa’agata-Averbuck pitched her best game of the year to get the win and she also came up big with the bat. The sophomore, who played for Cardinal Newman last year, had a single and double with three RBIs.

“It was by far my best game,” she said. “I’d been struggling.

“Pitching, I was getting snap on the ball and that increased my speed. At the plate, I was seeing the ball clearly and was able to get in position to hit the ball.”

Second baseman Amanda Navarro and Kristine Ricossa each contributed three hits to the Cougars’ offense. The former also had two RBIs.

Navarro came into the game hitting .250 and admitted she’d been having problems.

“When I stay relaxed at the plate, I do pretty well,” she said. “My first time up in the second inning, I got a double and that gave me a confidence boost. I was nice and relaxed after that.”

Ricossa ignited the three-run third inning with a lead-off single. Courtney Zaccagna and Navarro also got base hits and there was an infield error that kept the uprising going.

In the fourth, the Cougars received three walks from losing pitcher Robin Johnson. Zaccagna, Amanda Dodson, Katie Rohrer and Navarro each contributed singles.

Rancho coach Dave Johnson was all smiles after the game.

“It was a really good performance up-and-down the line-up,” he said.

“I was especially happy to see Kazja pitch like she did.”

This starts the busiest week of the season for the Cougars, now 3-2.

On Thursday, they visit Montgomery and then on the weekend they’ll head to Antioch for the HASA Tournament. Friday, they have a doubleheader playing Concord and then Richmond.

Saturday, they’ll battle Pittsburg.

The Pumas, now 5-3, are also playing in a tournament this weekend. They’ll be competing in Hayward.

Before that, they host Windsor on Thursday.

Coach Lonnie Harwell is hoping his players regroup.

“This is a simple game,” he said. “When you make errors and can’t hit, you’re going to lose. This was our least productive game of the season.

“Bottom line, we didn’t play well and Rancho did.”

 

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