Walk-off homerun gives team first win

Bennett Gross

Despite a slow start, the girls’ varsity softball team has won two out of its last three games after dropping its opening two as of press time. Although the record does not show it, the team feels like they are on the right track.
“We have faced some tough opponents. Both teams that we lost to were ranked number one in their respective divisions,” Coach Claire Rietmann-Grout said. “We have done some things well, and we will get it together.”
The team has been plagued by injuries, which are a contributing factor to the initial losses. Three of the four seniors, Captain Jessica Johnston ’14, Captain Madeline Kaplan ’14 and Jackie Carr ’14 all missed the first two games. In Kaplan’s return against La Reina, the team picked up its first win of the season, and in the following game, Kaplan blasted a walk-off three run home run to defeat Oak Hills in the first round of the High Desert Classic.
“A notable highpoint was definitely our first victory.” Johnston said. “It was a confidence booster and really showed how hard we have been working.”
With the slew of injuries, the freshmen have had to contribute more and fill in bigger roles. Johnston and Kaplan have been helping all of the freshmen adjust to the varsity level of play.
Highlighting the freshman class is Hailey de la Vara ’17, who has been the team’s go-to pitcher so far this season.
She has had to fill the shoes of Chloe Pendergast ’13, who now plays at Cornell University; however, her teammates feel she is doing an outstanding job thus far.
“The freshmen have really grown quickly,” Rietmann-Grout said. “They haven’t had a choice, and they are doing great.”
Despite their struggle to win games early on, Rietmann-Grout and Johnston both agree that the team is working, and chemistry and morale are high in the team and the locker room.
The team is improving every day, and Rietmann-Grout believes that to be all that matters in the team’s success this season as they look to make a CIF run.
The Wolverines were ousted 2-3 in the second round of the CIF Playoffs last year against Colton High School April 21.
“We played with very few errors on the field and we were getting some clutch hits. Everyone’s playing was solid, and we played as a team very well,” Molly Steinberg ’14 said following the team’s victory over La Reina High School. “It was our best game of the season by far.”