BARSTOW • Daron Banks promised his lineup was one that would win a lot of games at the plate.
After a slow start the Barstow High School softball team has made good on that promise. Next step is to work on execution once they reach base.
The Aztecs (5-4; 2-0 Desert Sky League) might have left a few runs on the base paths, but their bats ensured a 9-4 win against Silverado on Wednesday afternoon at home.
Barstow's bats have picked up significantly since opening the season with a 3-1 loss to Hesperia in March. In two games, the Aztecs have outscored opponents 19-5.
"They are picking up slowly, but I know we can do better," said Banks, Barstow's coach. "Once our bats get going, we are not going to lose a game."
The Aztecs easily could have added several extra runs if not for getting picked off on the base paths.
Alyssa Maldonado, who went 2-for-3 with a triple and a home run, led off the first inning with a triple but was caught with a big lead between third and home. An inning later, Hannah Ulibarri earned a triple to lead off the second but was waved home and got tagged out. Banks, who was coaching at third base and waved Ulibarri on, took the blame for the play.
Banks said the Aztecs want to be aggressive in base running but admitted they may have been a little overzealous Wednesday.
Silverado (11-0, 02 DSL) jumped out to a 2-0 in the top of the first inning, but Barstow erased that lead by the end of the inning, taking a 5-2 lead that the Aztecs wouldn't relinquish. Ulibarri pitched a complete game for Barstow with three strikeouts and no walks.
"She kind of had a rough go of it at the beginning hitting her spots," Banks said. "Hannah starts out that way and then when she hits her groove she's solid all the whole way through."
A year ago the Aztecs struggled mightily at the plate. During one stretch they were shutout in four straight games. Against Silverado, the Aztecs went 1-3 a year ago and were outscored 15-1.
Barstow entered Wednesday's game with seven players hitting above .300. Senior catcher Cayla Schreiner attributed the Aztecs improvement to working on hitting in practice constantly.
"We are really coming together as a team," Schreiner said. "At first we needed to work on that and our hitting wasn't quite coming around.
"At practices we've been doing just straight hitting. Hitting, hitting, hitting. We've been doing different stations and things like that and it's really helping us out."
Silverado 210 000 1 — 4 4 3
Barstow 501 021 X — 9 9 2
S. Allen, C. Lara (4) and Napoli; Ulibarri and Schreiner. WP — Ulibarri. LP — S. Allen. 2B — Carrion, Purdy, Schreiner, Duran (B). 3B — Maldonado (B). HR — Napoli (S); Maldonado (B).
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