By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
STOCKTON-In a close game the littlest mistake can come back to haunt you. That was the case for the Napa High softball team in their 2-1 loss to Bella Vista of Fair Oaks Saturday morning.
The Broncos’ (19-8-1) were down 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth when Serena Shine doubled before being brought in on a Kelsey Hall two-run homer that was belted over the center field fence on a full count off of Napa pitcher Jenna Baker.
“It was a full count,” Napa coach Ron Walston said of the home run. “She didn’t want to walk her. A walk wouldn’t have hurt us in that situation, but she was making good pitches the whole game. I wasn’t going to put the go-ahead run on in that situation. She took advantage of a good pitch over the plate and she hit it out of here, so there’s not much you can do.”
Before that Napa (19-9) scored their only run in the top of the first. Brianna Bowers singled and later scored on a Katie O’Donnell single that also had an error by Shine, the Bella Vista right fielder.
There was multiple chances in the game where the Indians left runners stranded in scoring position, and Walston said that’s one thing they’ll work on for their next game.
“You gotta hand it to the Bella Vista pitcher. She pitched a great game,” Walston said of his team not scoring when they had runners in scoring position. “She hit her spots too and stayed on their hands quite a bit, so it’s something we can work on Monday before we come back you know because everybody’s in one spot, everybody’s watching what’s going on, so we definitely gotta work that out.”
The biggest bright spot on the day was Baker who was flawless in her outing in the circle. She struck out four on the afternoon and gave up on the two runs.
“Jenna pitched a great game,” Walston said of Baker’s strong performance. “One pitch got away from her and they took advantage of it, but I think that’s the most positive that I can see right now is that she’s hitting her spots, she’s throwing hard, and our defense is playing behind her, so we gotta make better contact. That’s our main focus right now.”
The loss doesn’t eliminate Napa, but it certainly does make their road to winning back-to-back titles a little harder. On Tuesday at 5 p.m. they’ll face St. Mary’s of Stockton in their elimination game. For the full bracket go here.
“We’re going to have to play back-to-back two nights to win it,” Walston said on the road his team will now have to take. “We’ve gotta get the first one and then we’ll play again Tuesday night if we win the first one, so got to shake this off and come back strong.”