BARSTOW • Friday represented a setback for the Barstow Community College softball team, which was mercy-ruled by visiting Antelope Valley, 17-0.
The loss came on the heels of a close, well-played game on Wednesday. The Lady Vikings hosted Mt. San Jacinto and though it was a 7-5 loss, the hustle and spirit they showed more than pleased head coach Jennie Fregoso. She was expecting more of the same on Friday, but BCC gave up four runs in the top of the first inning, and the Marauder went on to score in all five innings.
"Wednesday was a great game, but they all came out with attitudes today," said Fregoso of her squad after the mercy rule loss. "Even though we lost our last game, we played great. Today we were making mental errors, jogging to fly balls, not blocking the ball, not making cuts. We just weren't playing basic softball."
Though AVC rapped out 16 hits, it also got some help from the BCC defense, which committed five errors. There were also the mental lapses that don't show up in the box score.
Alexis Conant started on the rubber for the Lady Vikings, but only went two innings. The Lady Marauder started the offense right away, with five hits in the first inning, including a three-run homer over the centerfield fence by Taylor Anderson. In the second, there were five more runs, highlighted by RBI doubles by Haley Schulmann and Hannah Cavalier. Elise Westbury took over in the circle in the third.
"Our pitcher just wasn't 'on' today, so we switched," said coach Fregoso. "Elise did a great job coming in and having to take the loss. She didn't even get to warm up."
"I was just trying to get it over the plate," was Westbury's assessment of her situation. "We had a few problems today and didn't play like we did on Wednesday. The spirit wasn't there, no one was talking. I think we'll do better next time."
Local fans no doubt recognized who had the ball for AVC, as Barstow High School grad Hannah Ulibarri tossed a complete game. Ulibarri was the starting pitcher for a Lady Aztecs team that won the Desert Sky League championship in her sophomore, junior and senior years. She gave up just one hit in getting the win - a third-inning single to Alexis Davis - while walking just one and striking out six.
Ulibarri admitted that it was a bit strange to be in town playing for the visiting team.
"I got the jitters," said the pitcher after the win. "I love Barstow, but it was weird to face my catcher from last year."
Tessa Saenz, Ulibarri's battery-mate from last season, was catching for the Lady Vikings, and faced Ulibarri at the plate twice. She took a couple of big cuts, but wound up flying out to center both times.
The former Aztec pitcher is having fun with her new team, but allowed that there are big differences between high school and college ball.
"The batters are a lot more experienced. You have to hit your spots a lot more and paint the corners," said Ulibarri. "The level of play is a lot higher, but I like being under pressure. It motivates me to do better."
When asked if she plans to drop by and catch a Lady Aztecs softball game this spring, Ulibarri said, "Definitely. I love my old team. I think they'll win another title."
As for the Lady Vikings, they drop to 4-19, 1-3, with AVC improving to 9-12, 2-2.
"We shouldn't give up the kind of score we gave up today to anybody. We have injuries and things to deal with, but that's no excuse; we mentally gave up," said Fregoso. "We have to be sure to be ready for Wednesday."
The Lady Vikings will be at San Bernardino (11-10, 0-3) Wednesday, and at Rio Hondo next Friday. The next home game is March 29 against College of the Desert.