Christopher High senior pitcher Aly Olvera efficiently negotiated the Monte Vista Christian lineup with ease, striking out 11 en route to no-hitting the Mustangs and a 5-1 Cougars’ victory in the two teams Monterey Bay Athletic League opener Tuesday in Gilroy.
Olvera’s blemishes in an otherwise spotless performance were three walks – one in the second, third and seventh innings.
The seventh inning base on balls turned into the Mustangs’ lone run after a pair of change-ups went awry and allowed Jessi Sternat, who drew the leadoff walk, to advance to third. Sternat scored on a fielder’s choice ground out. Olvera, who said she didn’t know a no-hitter was at stake, promptly retired the final two batters of the game.
“I didn’t even know (about the no-hitter) until they told me right now,” Olvera said, attributing some of her success on a bit of extra work put in at practice. “It’s a lot of practice, like a lot of practice – and conditioning on the side, which prepares you for the seventh inning and gives you more stamina.”
The Cougars’ defense had a hand – or two – in preserving the no-hitter. Second baseman Kayla Medrano snagged the Mustangs’ best chance for a hit in the top of the sixth inning, ranging well to her right in the hole behind second base and backhanded Olivia Potter’s line drive effort. Before that, third baseman Johnna Blank disregarded the fast-approaching fence to make a catch in foul territory; making sure a MVC batter didn’t have another swing in her at-bat.
“It’s nice to know that I can trust my defense, so even if I do throw a watermelon down the middle they will pick it up,” Olvera said.
Olvera struck out at least two hitters in each of the first four innings, including striking out the side in the first frame.
“Their hitters weren’t as fierce as we are used to seeing, but she is pitching with confidence out there and we want to keep that going,” CHS manager Allison Robinson said.
MVC starter Alicia Frost cruised through the first two innings, getting Cougars batters out on their front foot with a variety of offspeed pitches and didn’t allow a hit until one out in the third. CHS freshman Mackenzie Holt connected for her first of two singles on the day. Medrano chased home Holt with a single. Olvera followed with another single to bring in Medrano for a Cougars 2-0 advantage.
“We just let the ball get deeper and kept out weight back,” Medrano said of the adjustments the Cougars made at the plate. “And then when one of us hits, then all of us start.”
CHS added three more in the fifth with a Medrano RBI hit and an Olvera two-RBI liner to centerfield to grab a 5-0 cushion.
CHS travels to take on defending league champion Monterey on Thursday night. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m.