Lady Broncs open softball season with 22-1 win over Laton

Ava Bates Photo by Isabel Anzaldo

By Mike Blake

Kern Valley’s varsity softball team won their season opener February 23 at home against Laton, demolishing the Mustangs 22-1. The Lady Broncs’ new head coach, Jamie Duran liked what she saw on the diamond. “We had quality at-bats and aggressive base running,” Coach Duran said. “The Broncs showed focus and had energy all game long.” 

Kern Valley, which was to open the season a day earlier, instead sent their JV team to play Mojave, February 22. This gave the varsity squad extra time to work on fundamentals and crispness, as they had seven girls who had been playing basketball and soccer in tournaments and needed some time on the diamond to get ready for the season.

Kern Valley took command from the get-go, taking a 12-1 lead after the first inning. The Lady Broncs increased the advantage to 17-1 after two, 20-1 after three and 22-1 after four. After a scoreless Laton top of the fifth, the game ended with the mercy rule in effect.

Kern Valley pitchers allowed only one hit — in the first inning — one walk and one hit batter, while striking out 11. Coach Duran said the circle was commanded with focus. “Our pitching staff really came out and handled business.” she said. “Audrey Martinez and Samantha Wyly both were hitting spots changing speeds with confidence and control. Martinez faced 11 batters, striking out six, and only allowed one hit in three innings; and Wyly faced six batters striking out five allowing no runs in two innings.” 

The Broncs played errorless ball behind their sharp pitching. “Elli Jeans (second-base) cleanly handled two outs of the five contacts made by Laton,” said Duran. “Brooklynn Robertson (right fielder) caught a fly ball in right field, and Ava Elliott handled a grounder by fielding it cleanly and tagging her base.” 

On offense, the Broncs reached base on 14 hits, five walks, three hit batters and 18 Laton errors, some on throws and missed catches after a batter reached base. Lead-off hitter Ava Bates went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI; Wyly went 3-for-4 at the plate, with three runs scored, four RBI and a double; Kayley Sietsma went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three ribbies; freshman Leenah Troller smacked out two hits and Alaina Check, Martinez and Elliott each connected for a hit.

The Broncs also ran wild on the base paths with eight stolen bases in eight attempts. Bates tole three bags, Troller swiped two and Wyly, Check and Jeans (who walked twice and scored four runs) each stole a base.

This was a great team win and now we will get to work and prepare for Foothill on Thursday,” Coach Duran said.

Kern Valley next plays Foothill, February 29.