Lady Broncs open season with a win: Helen Hayes comes up just short of perfection in first game

Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer-Helen Hayes of the varsity Lady Broncs delivers a pitch in the first game of the season against Kennedy.

By Ray Conner
Sports Editor

For a moment, it was a continuation of last season for the Lady Broncs varsity softball squad.

They opened the season with a dominating victory over Kennedy. But then, it took a turn for the worse as they would drop their next two games. They got crushed by powerhouse Centennial and lost a close one to Foothill.

Despite not getting much field prep time, the Lady Broncs jumped out of the gate and into their first game of the year with a 10-0 win over the Lady Thunderbirds of Kennedy. The game lasted only five innings as the 10-run rule was put into effect.

Helen Hayes overpowered the Kennedy squad as she tossed her first no-hitter of the season. She would set down 11 batters on strikes and did not walk a batter. She just missed tossing a perfect game. The perfecto came to an end when she plunked a Kennedy batter.

The Lady Broncs got all the runs they would need in their half of the second.

They pushed a run home to take the 1-0 lead and the rout would be on. Kern Valley added five runs in the third to open the huge cushion. In the fourth they scored another three runs and finished it off with one run in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Kern Valley banged out 10 hits in the game. Hayes led the offense with a pair of hits. Kassy Opferman and Hannah Ocampo each had two hits, while Krista Witten cracked a double for her lone hit. Aryan Meyers, Sadi Hartman and Lexi Baker each had one hit apiece.

Baker, Witten and Ocampo each drove in a pair of runs for Kern Valley. Brenna Acosta, Opferman, Hayes and Meyers each had one RBI.

The following day the Lady Broncs faced off with the Division 1 Lady Golden Hawks of Centennial. Kern Valley was humbled as the Lady Golden Hawks took the game 15-0. The Lady Broncs managed just one hit in the game. Acosta delivered the lone hit for Kern Valley. Only two other batters reached base for the Lady Broncs. Opferman and Haily Martinez were each issued a free pass.

Hayes in the circle tossed the five innings. She allowed 11 hits, walked six and struck out four against the Centennial squad.

On Friday, the Lady Broncs finished the week up by falling to Foothill. The Lady Trojans held off Kern Valley 5-3.

The Lady Broncs took the early lead as they scored a run in the top of the second. Foothill answered with a pair of runs in their half of the second. They increased their lead to 3-1 as they pushed another run home in the bottom of the third. They finished their scoring with two runs in the fifth.

The Lady Broncs tried to make a comeback as they cut the lead to two with a pair of runs in the top of the sixth. But that would be the last time they would cross the home dish and leave them stranded with a two-game losing streak.

The Lady Broncs were limited to just three hits in the game. Hayes dialed up a long-distance shot that left the yard. Acosta and Hartman each delivered two-baggers to end the offensive push from the Lady Broncs.

Hayes worked six innings giving up five hits and five runs. Only three of those runs were earned. She walked six and fanned seven as her record moved to 1-2 on the year.
Weather permitting, Kern Valley will play at home today against Highland in a rematch of last year’s D 5 CIF championship game.

Photo by Donna Harris / Freelance Photographer – Kern Valley’s Sadi Hartman, No. 11, watches the pitch come in as she gets ready to unleash her power on the ball. This action was in the home game on Feb. 26 against the Kennedy Lady Thunderbirds.