By Jeremy Balan
PACIFICA — The St. Ignatius softball team has struggled to score runs at times this season, but has had no such trouble in its two games against rival Sacred Heart Cathedral.
The Wildcats scored 15 runs in their first win Thursday, then the bats showed up again on Tuesday in a 13-5 West Catholic Athletic League win at Fairmont Park to give St. Ignatius a season sweep over the Irish.
“We got some hits early today, and last week, we got some hits early and pecked away,” said St. Ignatius head coach Karen Cota. “Today, we just burst out.”
After being held scoreless in the first inning, the first seven batters for the Wildcats (8-9, 3-4 WCAL) scored in the second, which began with a leadoff triple by sophomore Tara Fallahee and ended with a two-run triple from senior standout Jordan Newell.
The Wildcats added five runs in the third inning to take a 12-0 lead, then capped their scoring in the fifth on a solo home run by Newell.
Newell, who has been limited to a designated player after a shoulder injury prevented her from playing in the field for the rest of the season, has carried the offense — and Tuesday was no exception. The Santa Clara-bound senior went 2-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs.
“She can’t play in the field anymore, so it’s nice that she’s contributing with her bat,” Cota said. “She’s been playing great, and I’m sure she’s frustrated, but she’s doing a great job.”
But what ultimately fueled the rout was the performance of the bottom of the St. Ignatius lineup. The seventh, eighth and ninth spots in the batting order combined for six runs and went 6-for-11 at the plate.
“It’s nice to see that we don’t have a big dropoff anywhere,” Cota said. “We always feel we have a chance to go up there and make something happen.”
The Irish (5-11, 0-5) chipped away at the lead with two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings, and a single run in the seventh, and got a 3-for-3 performance from sophomore Alex Andreotti, but never challenged for the lead after the second inning.
“We didn’t have the bats turned on today, that’s for sure,” said Sacred Heart head coach Karen Murray. “We weren’t shut out, which was nice, but they were a little tired after eight games in five days [including a tournament last weekend], and it was showing.”
The Wildcats did get 12 hits, but it was five key Sacred Heart errors in the second and third innings that extended the St. Ignatius rallies.
“It wasn’t their best showing at all,” Murray said. “I actually think it’s an emotional thing with the [St. Ignatius] games. Because it’s such a rival, we just get nervous and break a bit.”
The Irish remain winless in WCAL play and are tied with Presentation for last place in the league, while St. Ignatius stands alone in fifth place, looking to move up the standings in the second round of league games.
“We’d like to do some damage in the second round,” Cota said. “We gave some away early in the WCAL, so we’d like to get some back.”
SI – Elena Vierra reaches on an error, Tara Fallahee scores
SI – Carrie McKewan singles, Vierra and Rachael Garrison score
SI – McKewan scores on wild pitch
SI – Jordan Newell triples, Helen Buse and Frankie Buonocore score. Newell scores on throwing error.
SI – McKewan singles, Vierra scores on throwing error
SI – Buonocore singles, Garrison and McKewan score
SI – Newell sacrifice fly, Buonocore scores
SI – Emi Goldstone scores on wild pitch
SH – Julia Gallegos singles, Jennifer Otoshi scores
SH – Alex Andreotti singles, Raquel Gaffud scores
SH – Anna Palter singles, Jessica Tse and Rebecca Gisslow score
SI – Newell home run
SH – Gaffud singles, Gisslow scores