Lady Broncs begin season 4-1

Martinez 16 on the mound and Ava Elliot 6 at first.

Story by Ray Conner

The Kern Valley varsity softball team has won four of its first five games, despite the weather creating havoc on their schedule.

Half a tournament was cancelled, and another contest was called off due to an unplayable field. Three games and a 2-1 record were accomplished at the tournament, but the rest of the games got washed away. 

On Feb. 29 they leaped into the North High Leadoff Classic. A 14-2 win over Foothill put them on the right track. They followed that up with a hard fought 8-6 victory over North High, but in the contest with Golden Valley, the Lady Broncs came up short 6-5. They would not see any more games that weekend and were sitting at 3-1 on the season.

The following week, Kern Valley was supposed to travel to Corcoran, but the opposing team’s field was unplayable. That game was cancelled.

The Lady Broncs were able to take the field at home against Immanuel Christian on March 6. Kern Valley grabbed the game 11-5 to push their record to 4-1 on the season. 

The offense, pitching, and defense are beginning to mesh as the Lady Broncs have scored 60 runs in the five games. They have held their opponents to just 20 runs.

In the tournament game versus Foothill, The Lady Broncs jumped out to an early 5-0 lead. The Lady Trojans answered with a single run, but Kern Valley poured it on with two in the second and three in the third. They finished it up with a four spot in the fourth to take the win.

The Lady Broncs as a team banged out 15 hits, including two for extra bases. Ava Bates led the charge with three hits and three RBIs. Brooklynn Robertson collected three hits and an RBI, while Samantha Wyly had a pair of hits, including a double to plate two runs. Hailee Kopperman finished with two hits, including a double with one RBI. Kayley Sietsma and Ava Elliott each had two hits and one RBI, while Elli Jeans had one hit and drove in one run. Audrey Martinez was credited with an RBI in the contest.

Martinez in the circle picked up the win. She allowed the two runs, only one earned. She struck out six and walked one.

Game two started slow for the Lady Broncs as they took on North. They fell behind 4-1 after two innings. It stayed that way until the fourth when the Lady Broncs broke through. Kern Valley tallied seven runs with four coming on an inside the park home run. These runs would be the eventual game winner as the Lady Stars rallied for two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Kayley Sietsma came up with the huge hit. With the bases loaded, Kayley Sietsma drove the ball down the first base line that ended with the fence keeping it in the park. All three runners in front of her crossed the plate. Kayley Sietsma hustled around the bases and wound up with the inside the park homer. On the day she was one for three with the four RBIs.

Elliott, Robertson, and Jeans each had one hit, while Wyly recorded an RBI. 

Wyly pitched her way to the victory as she tossed four innings. She gave up the six runs, only five earned. Wyly allowed eight hits and walked six. She would also hit three batters. Wyly struck out one batter.

The final game of the day came versus Golden Valley. The Lady Broncs battled, but came up short as they lost the game 6-5. They were limited to five hits, including a triple. Kayley Sietsma led the way as she tripled for her lone hit. She knocked in three of the six runs. Wyly, Elliott, Robertson, and Jeans each had one hit in the game. 

Martinez was posted as the losing pitcher. She went five innings allowing the six runs. She walked one and struck out two.

Kern Valley’s head coach Jamie Duran said, “The Broncs played well in the North High School Leadoff Classic. The Broncs had aggressive base running and forced Foothill to play on their toes. I was proud of the way we manufactured runs as a team, and continued to put the pressure on with quality at bats. Martinez controlled the game and kept Foothill off balance with her spot execution.

On Friday energy was a little slow for us initially. The girl showed discipline at the plate. This group continues to work together and to fight each and every inning. They are so coachable and their growth thus far is a testimony to just that.”

Kern Valley will have a busy week as they took on Woodlake on the road Tuesday. Thursday through Saturday they compete at the Mira Monte Tournament.