By Kyle Foster, photo courtesy of Don Lex (LuckyDuckImages.com)
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
With Napa already locked into the playoffs and Vintage not going to the playoffs you’d think the final Big Game softball doesn’t mean anything right, well you’d be wrong. The last Big Game softball is always played at Kiwanis Park in downtown Napa and is night game to make the event even more fun. After the final out it was Napa who walked away with a 10-0 dominating win over Vintage.
The game got out of hand early after Napa (17-8 overall, 9-6 Monticello Empire League) put up a seven-run inning in the bottom of the second. The Indians’ scored their runs on four total hits, but the inning was also aided by an error, and two Napa batters being hit.
“Well that’s the third time we’ve done that in the last three games,” Napa coach Ron Walston said of the big second inning. “We were behind Friday at Wood and we scored nine in the seventh and then we were down 6-0 in the first inning yesterday and came back and squeaked that one out. That one was huge for us.”
Vintage (4-16, 4-11 MEL) had their best chance to score in the top of the fourth. After Morgan Hernandez flew out cleanup hitter Sierra Crocker looked to have a double in the right-center gap, but Napa center fielder Grace Guzman laid out and made a sliding catch to rob her of a hit.
“Oh she’s amazing,” Walston said of the Guzman diving catch. “She’s done that so many times this year it’s just a highlight reel. She’s amazing I don’t know how else to say it.”
The Indians’ scored two more in the bottom of the fourth to grow their lead to nine. Brianna Bowers walked, stole second, and moved to third on an error before scoring a throwing error by Crocker. Katie O’Donnell reached on an error and her pinch runner Drew Somogyi scored on the Crocker error as well.
The game ended in the fifth after Haylee Giarritta tripled and scored on a Abby Arata single.
After a slow start to the season Napa’s Jenna Baker is starting to find her groove. She struck out two over five innings of work. Also, she only hurled 59 pitches on the night.
“That’s the best she’s pitched this year and you know if she’s going to wait till a time to start bringing it now’s the time,” Walston explained of Bakers outing. “If she can keep that up and we can keep doing things we needed to do at the plate we’re going to be tough to beat.”
“She’s a good kid, she’s awesome,” Guidry said of the game Baker had. “She worked hard and we didn’t know how to face her, we really didn’t, so she’s a good kid, she’s awesome. She works hard I know I’ve heard stories, I don’t know any of the Napa kids personally, but I know they all work hard they play on some great travel teams. I know coach (Walston) did his best and coached them to his ability and she’s an awesome kid.”
Cierra Yaeger took the loss for Vintage. In 4 and ⅓ innings of work she struck out three and walked two. She allowed all ten runs to score, however, seven of them were earned.
The season is now over Vintage, but for Guidry she says she saw growth from her team the last three weeks of the season.
“We improved from day one till today,” Guidry said of what was a positive on the day. “I know it didn’t seem like it today, but I still saw some things that we didn’t do at the beginning of season that we did tonight. And yeah maybe they wanted it a little bit more than us, but we definitely did what we could and Grace Guzman robbed us a couple times and she’s a good kid, she’s an awesome kid, but we definitely worked hard and we put in a lot of effort.”
For Napa they’re onto the CIF Sac-Joaquin section division II playoffs, which starts next Monday.
“They definitely played like they are capable of tonight,” Walston said of winning the season series. “It was a big night for them, senior night, but a lot of little things that we’ve worked on since the last time we played them and hitting with runners on, just staying up the whole game and they pulled it out.”