GLENDALE — Less than 20 minutes into his team’s nonleague game against Holy Family, Hoover High softball Coach Rich Henning looked at his assistant coach and told her that he wanted to win with class.
Henning and his players didn’t want to embarrass the Gaels.
The Tornadoes scored 10 runs in the first inning before taking intentional outs by leaving the bases early in the second inning.
All 10 Hoover batters scored at least one run — with six players scoring at least twice — in a 23-0 home victory. The game was called in the fifth inning because of the 10-run mercy rule.
“I’ve never been a type of coach to pound a team mercilessly,” Henning said. “You have to have compassion for these girls and for these teams. The worst thing is to be a sore winner.”
Hoover sophomore Karina Moreno and senior captain Kaitlyn Williams showed early that the Tornadoes (1-1) were going to have an easy afternoon.
Moreno started the bottom of the first by reaching base and Williams brought her home with a double to left field. Hoover sent 15 batters to the plate in the first inning, and 40 overall.
Moreno and Williams each scored four runs. Williams led her team with five hits and six runs batted in, including two on another double to left field that missed clearing the fence by a few feet.
“We came to play,” said Moreno, who, like Williams, scored twice in the first inning. “We were ready. We played smart.”
They played a lot better than they did in their first game of the season, a 19-12 loss to Louisville on Saturday
“I’d much rather have these games than the game we had on Saturday,” Williams said.
Alissa Barcena, Jessica Rivera and Jenesy Gonzalez each scored three runs and combined for four of the Tornadoes’ 13 hits. Anjel Bonilla had two runs scored, and Alejandra Villasenor, Diana Palafox, Kelly Crockett and Karen Lopez each had one run. The Tornadoes might have been able to score more runs, but they had a runner intentionally step off the base in the second, third and fourth innings, including a combined four runners in the final two innings.
“We had very nice balance,” said Henning, who had seven players drive in a run.
“When you put nine hitters and they each get multiple hits, that’s nice.”
Hoover was nearly perfect at the plate.
Its starting pitcher, Breana Aguilera, was perfect in the circle.
The senior faced the minimum of 15 batters and struck out four. She threw just 55 pitches, three more than Holy Family (1-4) did in the first inning.
Said Henning: “We made ourselves look good by the way we performed.”