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Lady Aztecs win three in Santa Maria

SANTA MARIA — Spring break ended on a winning note for the Soledad Lady Aztec softball teams with three wins in two days of play in Santa Maria. Soledad traveled south and came home with two win over the Santa Maria High School Saints and a win over the St. Joseph Knights.

In their first game Adriana Valdez celebrated her 18th birthday with a 3 x 5 performance at the plate. Savannah Bermudez and Celeste Canchola matched Valdez with three hits apiece. Monique Rodriguez, Skylah Fregoso, Celeste Parra and Evelina Ramirez had two hits apiece in the 13-6 win over the Knights.

“I was a little concerned as to how we were going to do traveling so far and still being able to play good softball,” said Soledad head coach Joel Ramirez. “We answered right away in the first with singles by Savannah Bermudez, Skylah Fregoso, Celeste Parra, and a double by Celeste Canchola to take a 2-0 lead.”

St. Joseph tied the game with two runs off Soledad starter Alize Duarte. Soledad scored two more runs in the second inning on a two-out double by Monique Rodriguez. The Lady Aztec offense kept it going by scoring runs in every inning except the seventh.

“Duarte had embraced every challenge placed in front of her this year,” said Coach Ramirez. We hit the ball well and did a good job of driving the ball the other way.”

In the first game with Santa Maria Duarte started for the second time and was able to keep the Saint hitters off balance and did not allow them to get much started. Duarte forced a lot of fly balls towards right field and to senior outfielder Sam Perea. Santa Maria held a 1-0 lead going into the fourth inning but Soledad picked up four runs with a single by Elena Meza, a walk by Celeste Parra, and a fielder’s choice that allowed Monique Rodriguez to reach base. Jenny Garcia then hit a two RBI single up the middle to score two runs. The Lady Aztecs then scored two more runs on a passed ball and a sacrifice fly by Alyna Quezada.

Soledad scored four more runs in the fourth with a double by Jenny Garcia for two RBI’s and a basehit by Evelina Ramirez. The Aztecs to a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh and Rodriguez took over in the bottom of the fifth to close the game out. Adriana Valdez finished the game 3 x 4 and Jenny Garcia went 3 x 4.

In the second game with the Saints jumped out to take a 3-1 lead off Meza. The Saints led 7-3 to the top of the sixth inning as hot weather and windy conditions took all the energy out of the Soledad. A lead-off wak by Duarte and singles by Jenika Landeros, Valdez, Canchola, Meza and a sacrifice fly by Bermudez tie the game at 7-7. In the bottom of the sixth the Saints score one more run to take the lead at 8-7 going into the final inning.

Landeros started a rally with a basehit, followed by a singles by Valdez and Bermudez. Meza smashed a two RBI single and Rodriguez followed that with a homerun to centerfield. With a sixth run lead Duarte faced four batters in the seventh to end the game at 13-8.

“Duarte continues to improve as a pitcher but also as a player,” said Coach Ramirez. “She works hard as an outfielder and is developing into a good hitter. Although only a sophomore I didn’t expect her to have her up in the varsity level all year. She has been a pleasant surprise and works hard every day. We ended with over 40 hits as a team in three games and saw some pretty good pitching. We have another three game week coming up with games with Gonzales, King City, and Carmel.”

Last Tuesday in Soledad the Lady Aztecs lost 4-3 to the Coastal League leading Marina Mariners. The Monterey Peninsula team is led by pitcher Vivian Valencia and throws well with an overpowering fastball.

Marina took an early lead with an unearned run with errors in the outfield and infield. The damage could have been worse by pitcher Elena Meza was able to get a strikeout and produce a pop up to get out of the inning. Soledad took the lead in the bottom of the second with a triple by Jazmine Medina the knocked in two baserunners.

The Lady Aztecs held the 2-1 lead into the top of the sixth when two missed thrown balls by the infield allowed Marina to take the lead by picking up three runs.

“It seems like we make a mistake at the worst time where we make it hard for ourselves to recover,” said Coach Ramirez. “We got the tying run on in the bottom of the sixth and her in scoring position but a base running miscue got us doubled up to stop the threat.”

In the bottom of the seventh Rodriguez singled and Fregoso hit a two-out RBI single that placed them with the tying run on first. Medina came up and hit the ball hard but just right at the second baseman to end the game.

“Meza was able to produce the ground balls in the right situations,” said Coach Ramirez. “We just need to take care of the ball a little better, especially late in the game.”

Soledad (4-3 in league, 10-7 overall), played at Gonzales yesterday and will host King City tomorrow. On Friday Soledad will travel to Carmel to play the Padres.

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