SIERRA MADRE — For a team featuring six seniors in the starting lineup, Holy Family softball Coach Greg Ziomek didn't like what he saw from the Gaels during a key Horizon League contest Thursday.
Much to Ziomek's surprise, the Gaels committed four errors in a 9-0 loss against host Alverno.
Holy Family came into the game tied for second with Alverno in league behind defending league champion San Gabriel Mission. A victory by the Gaels in the first of two head-to-head meetings with the Jaguars would have boosted the Gaels' confidence. However, the Gaels yielded five unearned runs.
"Your seniors can't be the ones making the mistakes," said Ziomek, whose team dropped to 6-9, 2-1 in league. "They need to set the example for the younger players and that didn't happen [Thursday].
"Against a good team like Alverno, there's really no room for mistakes."
Alverno got some quality pitching from starter Lleana Vior to help the Jaguars improve to 6-5, 3-0 and vault into a share of first place. Vior went the distance, striking out nine and limiting the Gaels to four hits.
Holy Family starting pitcher Rachel Turner (3-2) probably deserved a better fate. Unfortunately for Turner, a reigning All-Area honoree, the defensive miscues led to elongated innings and more tosses on a warm afternoon.
Turner, a right-hander who received all-league first-team accolades last season, struck out four and allowed 10 hits and threw three wild pitches.
Alverno stayed patient at the plate against Turner.
"We are starting to do a lot of things, and one of those is hitting with runners on base," said Alverno Coach Lucinda Buchan, whose team will meet Holy Family again at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Glendale Sports Complex. "In our league, you'll have Holy Family, Mission and us battling for league and we are all good teams and it's just a question of who is playing better that day.
"We knew coming in that Holy Family had a great-hitting team. I expect them to play better when we play them the next time."
Alverno took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Olivia Rivas led off with a single and got to third on a sacrifice bunt and stolen base. A wild pitch by Turner allowed Rivas to score. In the second, the Gaels appeared to be out of the inning, however, a throwing error by the second baseman allowed Amanda Armas to score to make it 2-0. Rivas followed with a ground-rule double to make it 3-0.
Alverno scored another unearned run in the third when Vior reached base on an error by the shortstop before scoring on a sacrifice fly to left by Lucy Gervais to extend the Jaguars' advantage to 4-0. Cailen Rodriguez hit a three-run home run to left to make it 7-0 in the fourth.
The Jaguars closed out the scoring with two runs in the sixth. Armas had a run-scoring single to make it 8-0 and an error by the shortstop allowed the final run to score.
Holy Family, which finished second in league last season before advancing to the CIF Southern Section Division VI playoffs, got two hits from catcher Ginnes Paladini.