Newport Mesa Girls Softball hopes to see its numbers rise in the near future.
The league has just 24 players competing in the 10-and-under division, but Newport Mesa still put its best 11 together to form an All-Star team.
That team could be Newport Mesa’s best ambassador, as a strong showing in the Southern California Division C State Championship would be a marketable selling point.
Newport Mesa achieved that goal in its tournament opener, as Bridget Orcholski tossed a no-hitter to lead her team to an 8-0 victory over San Dieguito on Friday at the Lancaster Big 8 Softball Complex.
“These are our top 11, and we’re playing teams like Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley that we actually beat,” Newport Mesa coach Calvin Schneider said. “They have leagues that have 75 to 100 girls in the same division, so it’s clearly like a David and Goliath type of situation.”
Newport Mesa will square off with 4S Ranch Force, another team from the San Diego area, on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. On Friday, 4S Ranch Force defeated the Whittier Silver squad 17-2.
Orcholski struck out nine of the 20 batters she faced in the contest.
Schneider came away impressed with his team’s defense, as Newport Mesa did not commit an error in the contest.
Catcher Sienna Schneider caught a pair of pop-ups behind the plate, and second baseman Rosie Santos efficiently turned the groundballs that came her way into putouts.
Newport Mesa also turned a double play. Orcholski fielded a bunt in front of the pitching circle. She fired to first baseman Keira Oertle to get the batter. With the lead runner breaking for the plate, Oertle delivered the ball to Schneider, who was able to apply the tag in time.
Newport Mesa and San Dieguito were scoreless through the first four innings, but Newport Mesa put up five runs in the fifth to break the game open.
Right fielder Sophia Lin, shortstop Ellie Gregor-Orr, Schneider and Orcholski had hits to drive in runs during the fifth-inning rally.
“We had been hitting the ball,” Calvin Schneider said, “but we really broke it open in the fifth inning.”
Newport Mesa scored three more runs in the sixth inning, and that is where the game ended, as a new inning could not be started after the game was one-and-a-half hours old.
Newport Mesa played Friday’s game with just the requisite nine players available. With his players playing wherever he put them out of necessity, Schneider appropriately described the win as “a team effort.”