Ibarra’s gem drops Gilroy

 

Marisa Ibarra was the difference. She wasn’t perfect, allowing
six hits in seven innings of work, but by spreading baserunners out
over the course of two hours of work, Ibarra led the San Benito
Lady ‘Balers softball team to a 7-0 victory Tuesday over the host
Gilroy Mustangs.
Marisa Ibarra was the difference.

She wasn’t perfect, allowing six hits in seven innings of work, but by spreading base runners out over the course of two hours of work, Ibarra led the San Benito Lady ‘Balers softball team to a 7-0 victory Tuesday over the host Gilroy Mustangs.

Keeping batters off balance by varying the location of her pitches, Ibarra recorded nine strikeouts and a slew of slow-rolling ground balls to prevent the Mustangs from ever sustaining momentum beyond an at-bat or two.

“I was on my game,” Ibarra said simply.

Gilroy coach Catherine Hallada concurred.

“She did a good job. She’s a good pitcher,” Hallada said. “She definitely did her job of holding us back.”

Gilroy pitcher Melinda Ortiz took the loss for Gilroy, allowing three runs, two of which were earned, in 2 1/3 innings. Ashley Harrington and Sarah Lira both entered the game in relief, allowing three runs and one run, respectively.

San Benito only had two more hits than the Mustangs’ six, but by taking advantage of its speed around the diamond and rarely leaving runners on base, the Lady ‘Balers remained flawless after their fifth Tri-County Athletic league game while improving their overall record to 15-4.

“Big win,” San Benito coach Scott Smith said. “Gilroy is a very good team. We had a couple bounces go our way and that’s what it takes to beat good teams.”

More recently, Smith said he and his coaching staff have been trying to relieve the pressure of coming away with positive results. With the goal for this season being a third-straight Central Coast Section championship, Smith admitted that his players were under too much stress at the start of the season, and a more laid-back approach has been beneficial.

“Over the last two weeks we said, ‘We don’t care about winning. We want to have fun,'” Smith said.

Ibarra wasn’t alone in producing an enjoyable victory for San Benito. The first three hitters in the Lady ‘Balers lineup – JC Clayton (2-4, 3 runs), Rachel Maheu (1-4) and Elena Fata (2-2, 2 BB) – consistently kept pressure on Gilroy’s defense.

The Mustangs (14-5, 2-2) were led offensively by Lauryn Chris (2-3) and Jasmine Perez (3-3).

San Benito will now look to a Friday contest at the Wilcox Mission City Invitational Tournament, while Gilroy will host Salinas Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

The two squads taking part in Tuesday’s game will meet again May 1 in Hollister.

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