BARSTOW • It was another win and another hitfest for the Lady Aztecs.
The Barstow softball team hosted Victor Valley on Wednesday, and had the bats going full force. The home team smacked out 13 hits, including two home runs, as the Lady Aztecs beat Victor Valley, 11-5, in a Desert Sky League match.
Getting on base has been key for Barstow this season. Between the potent offense and the team speed, once the Aztecs begin reaching, they tend to score in bunches.
On Wednesday, they scored the game's first run and never trailed. Pitcher Hannah Abeita got off to a good start, tossing a 1-2-3 top of the first, with help from a nice grab of a pop-up by shortstop Miranda Peralta. Barstow then scored in the bottom half, as Jordan Neal legged out a home run to deep right.
There was another run in the second. Meagan Alvarez led off by reaching on an error, advancing on Teren Hedberg's fly out to right and Chelsea Phillips' ground out, scoring on a Gabby Rodriguez single.
The Jackrabbits got one back on Jackie Belcher's home run in the top of the third, but the Lady Aztecs came right back to hang a five-spot on the board in their half. The home team sent 10 batters to the plate and though there were a couple of errors and a hit batter, there were also four hits. Gabby Rodriguez came through again with the second of her three hits on the afternoon, a two-run homer over the fence in left. Hedberg got a run in with a pop fly and Alvarez with a fielder's choice, with the fifth run coming home on an error. Barstow should have kept the inning going, but Valley's Jessica Bati made a highlight-reel diving catch of Peralta's shot to deep center, for the third out.
The Jackrabbits came as close as they would get with three runs in the fourth. Kat Morgan stroked a two-run homer to center, and Belcher an RBI single.
That cut the Aztec lead to three, but the home team had another big inning, a four-run fifth, to again give them some breathing room. It was a big two-out rally, as the first two batters were quickly retired on a fly out and infield grounder. That was followed by a single by Gabby Rodriguez, an error that allowed Deanna Lopez to reach, and a single by Aleesha Rodriguez that plated Gabby. Peralta reached on another error, followed by back-to-back RBI singles by Neal and Marissa Dado.
The Jackrabbits scraped out their last run in their final at-bat, as Belcher doubled and scored on Aymit Demara's single. There were also a couple of nice defensive plays, as Dado tracked down a fly in center for the first out, and Neal covered a lot of real estate to grab a shot that hugged the right field line for the second out. Had the ball gotten by Neal, it would have at least driven in Demara and possibly resulted in an inside-the-park homer, and shifted the momentum to the visitors with only one out. Instead, it was the second out, the runner was left on base, and when Dado ran down another fly to center on the next batter, the game was over.
Abeita got the complete game win, allowing eight hits, while walking two and striking out two. Christy Espinosa pitched for Valley, giving up 13 hits, issuing no walks, and fanning one.
For those fans wanting to catch the Lady Aztecs at home, there's a bit of a wait, as the team is on the road until April 8. Barstow will be at Silverado next Wednesday, and then will compete in the Diamond Bar Softball Spring Fest.