ARCADIA â€” A solid defense and success seem to go hand in hand in most sports, but in softball, defense is magnified even more as games are often close and low scoring.
So when the Glendale High softball team hit the road to take on Arcadia on Thursday, it knew it would need a near-flawless effort in the field to keep pace with the two-time defending Pacific League champions.
Unfortunately for the Nitros, a few defensive miscues proved to be their downfall.
Arcadia capitalized on five Glendale errors to score two early unearned runs and kept the Nitros offense in check all afternoon en route to a 2-0 victory.
â€œIt'd be 0-0 if we didn't make the errors,â€ first-year Glendale Coach Christine Paknik said. â€œErrors happen in softball. â€¦It takes one run to win and you can't win a ballgame if you don't score any runs.â€
Glendale first baseman Courtney Williams pounded out three hits, including a laser double to the wall, but that was all the offense the Nitros (4-7, 1-2 in league) received, as Arcadia sophomore Patricia Stark twirled seven innings for the win.
Glendale ace Amy Bishop matched Stark nearly pitch for pitch, surrendering only four hits in six strong innings, but took the hard-luck loss.
â€œ[Amy] was amazing,â€ Paknik said. â€œShe threw her heart out.â€
The teams exchanged zeros in the first frame, before the Apaches (6-5, 3-1) did their damage in the bottom of the second.
Arcadia first baseman Caitlyn Leahy led off the inning with a ground ball to second base that was fumbled and Leahy was safe on the error.
Bishop didn't let it bother her, however, as she quickly settled down and retired the next two batters.
But Arcadia's Lindsey Hermann followed with a hot-shot single to the right side of the infield to score Leahy from second base for a 1-0 Arcadia lead.
Consecutive singles from Kristin Phillipi and Morgan Barchan brought in another Apaches run, which proved to be all Arcadia and Stark needed.
â€œIt could have gone either way and I have to tip my hat to Glendale,â€ said Arcadia Coach Megan Leahy, whose club shared the Pacific League crown with Crescenta Valley last season. â€œIt was close.â€
The Nitros loaded the bases in the second and had runners reach base in the fourth, fifth and sixth, but were never able to find that clutch hit to break into the scoring column.
â€œI think they are just pressing a little much to get the solid hit rather than just doing what they know how to do,â€ Paknik said. â€œ[They need to] just relax, breathe and swing.â€
While the end result wasn't what the Nitros had hoped for, Paknik was pleased with how her team battled against a top-notch team like Arcadia.
â€œWe hung in there with them,â€ she said. â€œIt was just minor errors and it takes one error to throw you under, but we played well. I'm proud of them.â€
Glendale will get a chance to right its ship at 3:15 p.m. on Tuesday when it hosts the Pasadena Bulldogs.