SUN VALLEY — There will be ups and there will be downs for the Hoover High softball team this year.
The Tornadoes’ first taste of the former came in its season-opening win over Westridge on Friday.
The latter was visited upon the Tornadoes in duplicate on Saturday, in the form of a double header sweep by host Village Christian.
Hoover dropped the first game Saturday, 10-0, and went on to lose a mercy-rule shortened second game later in the afternoon, 16-2.
“Village is a very good team, well-coached and very disciplined,” first-year Hoover Coach Rich Henning said. “We knew that they were a good hitting team, we just didn’t know they were this good of a hitting team.
“They are pitching-deep, so we were on the wrong end of two ball games.”
In the second game Saturday, three Village Christian pitchers combined to hold the Tornadoes to two earned runs on three hits over five innings, while the Crusaders lineup sent at least nine batters to the plate in the first, third and fourth innings.
Hoover made some headway against Village Christian starter Emily Siedel early, but Stephanie Arreola was thrown out at home trying to score from second base on a single by Mihaeli Portilla to end the top of the first.
By the time the Tornadoes got another at bat, they trailed 7-0.
Following a leadoff single and back-to-back walks in the bottom of the first, Siedel launched a one-out triple off Hoover starter Christine Iezza to deep center field to knock in the first three runs of the game.
Twelve Crusaders batted in the opening frame, which saw five hits, three walks and two errors in the field.
Village Christian (2-0) batted around again in the third, adding four more runs for an 11-0 lead.
Hoover (1-2) scored its first run of the day in the fifth inning on a ground-rule double to left field by Portilla that plated Arreola, who had walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on a fielder’s choice groundout.
Iezza then knocked in Portilla with a bases loaded single into right field to make the score 11-2.
The Crusaders, however, would turn around and add five more runs in the bottom of the fourth, effectively ending the game when Hoover could not answer in the top of the fifth.
“In the second game, we had some timely hits and got a couple of runs,” Henning said. “All in all, even though we got our butts kicked, it was a positive day for us.
“There’s things we need to work on, which have become more apparent to the players. Now they see that for themselves, and that’s just going to motivate them to work harder than what they do already.”
Hoover defeated Westridge, 4-0, on Friday.
GABRIEL RIZK covers sports. He can be reached at (818) 637-3226 or at email@example.com.