Victoria Rodriguez left, and Lauren Castro, right, are honored during Senior Night Tuesday. It was the Mustangs final game of the season and they beat Christopher 1-0.
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GILROY— Pink balloons floated in the Christopher dugout during Tuesday’s game at Gilroy High. The Cougars wore pink socks and eye black and players from both sides donned pink bows in their hair—and did it for Natalia Salcido.
The hints of pink were the girls’ way of silently paying tribute to Salcido, 15 and a sophomore at Christopher High, who was killed in a car accident Saturday.
Christopher entered the game against Gilroy hoping to honor Salcido with a win. But it wasn’t meant to be as the Mustangs scored a late run to win 1-0 at Gilroy High.
“(Salcido) grew up with a lot of girls in the team. They played with heavy hearts today,” Christopher coach Julian Santiago said.
“We wanted to honor the Christopher High School student and pay our respects,” added Mustangs coach Julie Berggren.
The pitchers, too, seemed to feed off the motivation to honor Salcido. 
Lauren Castro, playing her last game in a Mustangs uniform, silenced Christopher’s bats the entire game. She retired the first 10 batters she faced, before Karli Martinez notched an infield hit in the fourth inning.
“Our defense was extremely well today and that’s all I ask for,” said Castro, who will continue her softball career at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY this fall. “Knowing it was my last game it was kind of hard, but I just went in thinking; leave it all on the field.”
Castro pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout for Gilroy. She struck out four batters and walked just one in her high school finale.
Christopher’s Mackenzie Holt kept a shutout until the sixth inning when two walks put runners in scoring position for Nicole Dan. Dan singled to right field, scoring Castro for the lone run of the game.
“Both pitchers brought it; both pitchers wanted it,” Santiago said. “They’ve been playing against each other probably since they were T-ballers.”
Holt allowed just one run on five hits, three walks and three strikeouts over six innings for the Cougars.
The Cougars threatened in the fifth and sixth innings by getting runners in scoring position. The Mustangs kept a tight defense, however, to keep their opponents at bay.
“(It was a) tough game, well played by both teams. Down to the last couple outs and that’s the way it suppose to be in the rivalry (game) in this town,” Berggren said.
Gilroy finishes the regular season with an 11-16 overall record, 5-7 in league play.
The Cougars (9-11 overall, 4-7 in league) will play their regular season finale against San Benito at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

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