It's good to be the home team.
No long bus rides, lots of friendly faces cheering you on, and you always get to bat last.
Warrior softball took full advantage of that fact on Thursday with a 10-inning nail-biter against SEYL foe Bakersfield Christian. The Warriors opened up the game with a bang, scoring two quick runs in the first inning, thanks to a lead-off double from Kennedy Caudle, a Kristen Burgeis infield hit, a passed ball, and a hard grounder by Meghan Daffern to score Burgeis.
BCHS responded with single runs in the 3rd and 4th, but the Warriors replied with two more runs of their own. Another extra-base hit from Caudle, a triple this time, a Deanna Hammer walk, and infield hits from Kaylee Peel and Maleena Davis, resulted in the Warriors holding onto a 4-2 lead going into the 7th inning.
The lead wouldn't last, however, as the Eagles plated two more on solid hits to knot the game at four and send it into extras. Three more scoreless innings from BCHS built the tension to the bottom of the 10th, when a lead-off double by sophomore Emma Barrett, and a fielder's choice from Hammer put the winning run 60 feet away. Bailey Damian then came to the plate and hit a hard single to left to score Barrett and give the Warriors the 5-4 victory.
The Warriors notably stepped up their defensive play this game, led by Barrett at shortstop, never allowing a big inning from BCHS to put the game out of reach. Yet another solid tag-team pitching performance was turned in by seniors Daffern and Damian, with Daffern starting and going the first eight innings, scattering nine hits and striking out eight, while Damian pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
Earlier in the week, the Warriors hosted winless West at home, and came away with a 10-0 victory. Daffern shined in the circle, throwing a complete game no-hitter, striking out seven, while Hayley VanWey and Burgeis led the offense with two hits and two RBI's each. Also adding hits were Daffern, Kyndall Perkins, Sierra Brown, Peel and Caudle.
The Warriors previously faced BCHS at home on Tuesday. Despite another strong tag-team pitching performance from Damian and Daffern, who only gave up two earned runs combined, a combination of shaky defense and strong opposing pitching led to a 7-2 loss. BCHS pitcher Kadyn Smith was commanding in the circle, giving up no earned runs while striking out 11. Bright spots for Tehachapi were Barrett and Caudle each going 2-for-3.
The Warriors have an extremely full plate this week, thanks to rescheduled rainout games, and are now set to take on Golden Valley and Independence at home Monday and Tuesday, Golden Valley again in Bakersfield Wednesday, and finally a trip to Taft for a game on Thursday. Come on out and support this scrappy Warrior team!
Paul Askins is a parent with the team.