Swinging slump

Senior hurler Jennifer Olvera delivers a pitch to home plate

Lady Mustangs can’t get offense going in 2-1 loss to
GILROY – The Lady Mustang sticks were once again kept at bay for a second straight game Wednesday as the Gilroy High softball squad suffered a strange 2-1 home loss to league-foe Salinas.

“We thought we’d hit a lot better, but she shut us down last game, too,” said second-year skipper Julie Berggren, following an extended post-game talk with her players. “(They were all) very quiet and very disappointed in themselves.”

Gilroy (3-3 in T-CAL) did hold a 1-0 lead going into the final frame before back-to-back Salinas base knocks followed by a past ball put runners at second and third with no outs. Lady Mustangs’ senior ace Jennifer Olvera struck out the next batter looking – but then a sharp ground ball to short opened the flood gates at the worst of times.

Sophomore shortstop Kayla Aldridge fielded the ball cleanly and went after the tying run at home plate. Her throw was not in time and squirted past junior catcher Bria DeLorenzo – allowing the go-ahead run to score.

“It’s unfortunate that we had to make it such a close game, that a few unfortunate calls didn’t go our way,” said Berggren, noting close plays at first and second base in the decisive seventh.

The Lady Mustangs did get a two-out base hit from freshman outfielder Kristen Campos. to threaten in their final at-bats. But sophomore pinch-hitter Francesca Lopez flew out to center to end the game.

“It’s disappointing not to get more hits,” Berggren said.

Gilroy’s lone run came in the bottom of the sixth inning under some sketchy circumstances as well. DeLorenzo led the inning off with a stand-up double and was relieved on the base paths by Lopez – who was then thrown out at home trying to score on teammate Dallas Hernandez’s grounder to third.

That’s when things got a little wacky.

Hernandez stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. On the throw back to the mound, Hernandez sprinted home to break the scoreless tie. But in high school softball, a runner cannot steal when the pitcher has the ball in the circle. After a discussion between the Salinas coach and the umpires, the run counted because nobody knew if the pitcher was in the circle.

“If the pitcher has possession of the ball in the circle, then you can’t run,” Berggren said. “Nobody knew where the pitcher was. I was talking to Cherise (Martinez) and (Assistant Byron Bunten) was talking to Cherise. (Assistant Frank Reyes) was looking where the catcher was.”

The first-base umpire had his back turned to the play and the home plate umpire must have missed it as well. But two Salinas runs in the top of the seventh erased any controversy – unlike the Lady Mustangs’ 1-0 home loss to North Salinas on Monday that was decided by a controversial call at home plate.

Gilroy – which did crack the CCS top 10 prior to Wednesday’s loss for the first time this season – hopes to end its two-game slide Friday at home against rival Hollister at 3:45 p.m.