By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
After losing their first two meetings of the season to Rodriguez the Napa High softball team needed a win over the Mustangs on Friday, and they got it by a score of 6-3.
“Oh it’s everything, we can’t afford another league loss to be honest,” Napa coach Ron Walston said of the importance of finally getting a win against Rodriguez. “I realize there’s four (playoff) spots, but we need to go 5 or 6 and 0 — if we get into the playoffs we need to go in on a winning note ok, and I think it’s starting to come around, we’ve just got to keep them focused and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Rodriguez (14-8 overall, 6-6 Monticello Empire League) scored the first runs of the game by scoring two runs in the top of the first. Megan Messa scored on a Sharmone Walker double after reaching on an error by Napa right fielder Abby Arata. Walker moved up second on a single by Cienna Chesier, and scored on a error by Napa starting pitcher Jenna Baker.
“I agree, she didn’t panic, she didn’t get flustered,” Walston explained of how Baker responded after the top of the first. “It was the first inning, I wasn’t going to go get her after two runs, I know we can score runs. I talked to her today about it before the game, I need her to be Jenna again. Confidence is the biggest thing for her, and I think she didn’t have it for a while, but hopefully this will help her get back to where she needs to be.”
The Indians (12-6, 5-5 MEL) scored their first run of the game in the bottom of the second. Lindsey Lehman, who reached by way of a double, scored on a McKenna Walls single.
Napa snatched the lead in the bottom of the third with a two spot. Walls drove in Mott and catcher Katie O’Donnell’s courtesy runner Drew Somogyi with a single. Mott had reached on a bunt single, while O’Donnell reached on a fielder’s choice. Before that Brianna Bowers had started the inning with a bunt single as well.
“Well it just put the defense in motion is the biggest thing and make you force them to make a play that way,” Walston explained of playing some small ball in the third. “We hit a lot of balls that were hard, right at people, so there comes a point where if you can get sixty feet with a bunt and make them to play defense — it worked out well for us.”
The Indians added a run in the bottom of fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to extend the lead.
Rodriguez scored their final run of the game in the top of the seventh. Mia Yee led the inning off with a single, and moved to second on a groundout before scoring on a Gaby Ibarra single.
Napa’s bottom of the order played a solid role in getting the win. Walls was 2-for-3 with two singles and three RBIs, Haylee Giarritta had a 1-for-3 day with a single and an RBI, and Arata went 2-for-3 with two singles.
“We’re very fortunate, we have a very strong lineup all the way through, and they all work hard,” Walston said of the lineup he’s able to roll out. “They did very well especially that bottom of the order, I know McKenna (Walls) was at least twice hit the ball to right field with a runner on second, and we scored a run, and that’s the things that we weren’t doing, that we’ve been working on real hard, and it’s finally starting to come around.”
Baker got the win for Napa. She went all seven innings striking out three. The junior also gave up all three Rodriguez runs, two of which were earned runs.
Up next Napa will play a doubleheader in Davis on Saturday where they’ll face Kennedy-Sacramento at 11 a.m., and then they’ll face host Davis at 1 p.m. Meanwhile, Rodriguez won’t be back in action again till Wednesday when they make a return visit to Napa to face Vintage in a 4 p.m. start.