LA CAÑADA FLINTRIDGE — With a team filled with six freshmen and four sophomores, games like Tuesday's Prep League contest against Rio Hondo Prep are bound to happen to the Flintridge Prep softball team.
The Rebels struggled on the field and at the plate, committing nine errors and stranding five runners in a 9-2 home setback that kept Prep winless on the season at 0-11, 0-4 in league.
"There are definitely some things we need to work on," Prep Coach Julie Jamie said. "It comes with time and experience."
Experience is something the Rebels are lacking.
They lost eight players to graduation from last year's team that won a share of the league championship, and have learned this year to not be hesitant on defense, to remain patient at the plate and to not give opponents extra opportunities.
Their hesitation and errors on Tuesday led to seven unearned runs.
"We're just working out the kinks," said Prep sophomore third baseman Chelsea Johnson, who was on last year's team, which advanced to the second round of the playoffs and featured All-Area pitching standout Denise van der Goot and its top hitter, Abby Deckop. "We lost so many seniors from last year's team. We have to get used to knowing each other."
Rio Hondo Prep (7-2, 4-0) knew about the Rebels' inexperience and took advantage.
"At this level, you have to put the ball in play and make the other team play defense," Rio Hondo Prep Coach Joe Parker said. "We didn't hit the ball all that great, but we got some key hits."
Rio Hondo Prep collected eight hits, including five in the final two frames when it scored four of its runs. Priscilla Quintero led the Kares with three runs scored, including a home run to center field in the second inning that gave her team a 3-0 lead. Kara Kirby and Davenie Davis each scored twice for Rio Hondo Prep.
Prep nearly erased the Kares' early lead in the bottom of the third.
Maya Okamoto, a sophomore, Ashley Kim, a junior, and Johnson each singled, with the final two hits each driving in a run. Johnson was two for two with a walk and Kim reached base twice in her first appearance of the season.
Except for the third inning, the Rebels were hitless with runners on base, failing to get a hit in five opportunities.
"It's a matter of being in the box," Jamie said. "That comes with inexperience. That comes with anxiety. We were very anxious for a hit."
The Rebels are anxious for a win, and they'll get another opportunity at it when they face host Westridge — a team they lost to, 8-7, earlier this year — at 4 p.m. on April 20.