The Warriors girls have had some time to reflect on their softball fortunes over spring break, and they seem to have reached a conclusion.
“I think the rest of our season looks pretty bright, from here on out,” Warriors co-captain Daisy Hernandez said.
The fact that they lost two in a row to Independence and fell out of first place in the South Yosemite League apparently hasn't changed things much.
“We have been playing great,” slugging sophomore center fielder Ashley McIrvin said. “We just came up short during our last two games against Independence.
“I still have lots of confidence in the girls and believe that we are perfectly capable of winning the league title,” which remains their No. 1 goal, McIrvin said.
“The only way to do that is to keep doing what we are doing.”
The losses to Independence the week before spring break both were by narrow margins, 17-15 and 3-2, and were the Warriors' first setbacks this season in league. They entered the break tied for second at 5-2 with Independence, while Ridgeview was first at 5-1.
The Warriors resumed play on Tuesday, April 18, at East Bakersfield, then play host to East on Thursday, April 20, as they continue the home-and-away portion of their schedule.
The rest of their schedule consisted of two-game sets against Golden Valley, Ridgeview and West — all teams they beat in the first half of the season.
“There's a lot of softball left,” Warriors sophomore catcher Kristen Burgeis said. “We have time to improve on our game, minimize our errors and keep our bats strong.
“I am confident we have what it takes to achieve one of our goals of winning the league title.”
The Warriors planned to resume practice on Monday, April 17, after their week off. The pitching of Una Abarquez and Damien Bailey could be crucial down the stretch for the Warriors, Burgeis said.
“To accomplish our goals, we need our pitching to stay strong,” she said. “I believe that a big part of having a successful season also is having a strong bond on the team, and that's definitely what we have.”
The Warriors have shown they can hit. With six homers and 25 RBIs, both team-leading statistics, McIrvin has been the Warriors' big bopper, but she's had help from players like Erin Askins (.543, 3 homers, 13 RBIs) and Anabelle Carroll (2 homers, 13 RBIs), as well.
Timely hitting is the key, Hernandez said.
“Our team has already proven what we can do on the field with defense, but I think we really need to focus on our offense,” Hernandez said. “Every single person on the team can hit, but we need to work on getting those hits early in the game and staying hot in the later innings as well — really take each at-bat seriously to be able to come through in clutch when needed.”
Right now, Hernandez said, it doesn't matter that the Warriors have beaten every team in the league at least once already.
“We'll be sure to take each practice seriously because although we've seen these teams before, every team is different every game,” she said. “I think if we have that mentality, it'll help us work harder for our ultimate goal.”