Softball: Veler powers Carrillo to win over Santa Rosa, 7-1

Brittney Veler spent three hours in the batting cage preparing for Tuesday’s game and boy did it pay off. (Photo by John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

Maria Carrillo’s Brittney Veler spent three hours in the batting cage preparing for Tuesday’s game and boy did it pay off. (Photo by John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Brittney Veler spent three hours in the batting cage preparing for Tuesday’s game and boy did it pay off as she powered up and led Maria Carrillo to a 7-1 victory over Santa Rosa.

The junior had three extra base hits including a homer and knocked in three runs.

“I’d gone three games without a hit, so a game like this feels great,” Veler said. “The difference was definitely going to the batting cages Monday night with my Dad.”

After watching his daughter swing, Jim Veler had her make an adjustment that paid dividends Tuesday.

“I had gotten into the habit of leaning into the pitch instead of rotating my body,” the second baseman said. “By rotating, your body comes forward with your arms giving you power. When you lean into the pitch, you’re just using your arms and getting very little power.”

Batting leadoff, Veler began the game by making pitcher Denia Vera throw 14 pitches before coaxing a walk.

In the second inning, she hit a double. Then in the third, she blasted a three-run homer that easily cleared the left field fence. In the sixth, she stroked another double.

The Pumas scored all their runs in the first three innings. They got two in both the first and second and three in the third.

That was more than enough support for pitcher Robin Johnson. The junior scattered six hits and allowed only a run in the second. She struck out seven.

“I was pretty much on the whole game,” she said. “All my pitches were working.

“After we got the big lead, it was a lot easier to throw strikes.”

Johnson helped herself with an RBI double in the second. Shelby Holsworth and Rochelle Schulze also knocked in runs for Carrillo.

It was the 10th straight win for the Pumas and they clinched a tie for the NBL championship. They are 11-1 in league; runner-up Rancho Cotate is 9-3.

Carrillo (17-5 overall) can win the title outright with a victory at home Thursday against Montgomery. They end the regular season next Tuesday at Cardinal Newman.

“The girls are playing with a lot of confidence,” coach Lonnie Harwell said. “We’ve had continual improvement as the season progressed.

“The way we’re playing, it’s a simple game. Hit the ball and minimize errors. We hit the ball early in this game and didn’t make an error.”

Megan Fassold had the RBI for Santa Rosa, now 7-4 in league and 14-6 overall.

There was some good news for the Panthers. Johanna Peelen came on in the fourth inning and didn’t allow a run the rest of the way. It was the first time she’d pitched since suffering an elbow injury more than a month ago.

Comments are closed.