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May 25, 2022

Christopher High softball team seeks improvement as it overcomes challenges

To say the Christopher High softball team has had a challenging season would be an understatement. In the Cougars’ 5-2 loss to Sobrato High on March 17, they had just nine players available after starter Bella James went down with an injury during pregame warm-ups. 

“Despite all of the challenges, we’re trying to work past all that and come together even stronger with just nine girls,” Cougars coach Amanda Tellez said. “It’s been challenging, but we’re just trying to move forward.”

The Cougars (3-7 overall, 0-1 league) had a 2-0 lead over Sobrato but couldn’t hold on as the Bulldogs scored five runs spread out over the fifth and sixth innings. Despite the loss, Tellez said reinforcements should be imminent and the players have been maintaining a positive attitude in the face of adversity. 

“The coaches have been telling the girls after every game that despite the final score, we’re working on the little things,” Tellez said. “They’re being more aggressive on offense and defensively throwing the ball trying to get runners out. So they’re getting better in every way.”

Christopher’s best win came in a 9-8 triumph over Piedmont Hills on March 15. Against Sobrato, Zoe Griffin had the team’s only RBI in the top of the fourth inning with a sacrifice-fly that scored Jenessa De La Cruz, who had reached on a fielder’s choice. Karissa Smith followed with a single, setting up Griffin’s sacrifice-fly. 

Christopher scored its first run in the third inning when freshman Chevelle Quistian doubled with two outs and scored after Sobrato committed an error on Melissa Lugo’s infield single. Cougars pitcher Brianna Diaz Cruz went the full six innings and allowed just two earned runs. 

Smith, the team’s reliable shortstop, made a tremendous play in the bottom of the fifth when she fielded a grounder and threw to home plate for the force and first out, which prevented Sobrato from scoring more than three runs in the frame. Along with Smith, Kaylee Smallen has been one of the team’s stalwarts for the last three years. 

“Kaylee started for us in the infield but has really been dominating in the outfield for us now,” Tellez said. 

CHS has some quality freshmen talent led by Quistian, the second baseman who batted leadoff against Sobrato. 

“Chevelle fits in well with the upperclassmen and I think we have a good mix of players,” Tellez said. “With nine players, you need everyone contributing and that’s exactly what the girls have done. Everyone has contributed in some way and everyone has stepped up.”

Karissa Smith has been a stalwart in the CHS softball program since her freshman year. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Zoe Griffin, seen here against Sobrato March 17, has been a steady contributor to the team. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Kaylee Smallen, like Smith an impact player since her freshman year, has made some nice plays in the outfield this season. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]

Emanuel Lee
Sports Editor of the Gilroy Dispatch, Hollister Free Lance and Morgan Hill Times. PR of 3:13.40 at the 2019 CIM. Hebrews 12:1.

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