BURBANK — With four double plays, three home runs and more than 30 runs scored, Tuesday’s nonleague softball game between Holy Family and Providence provided its share of wild moments.
However, the most thrilling moments of the contest came in the later innings, as well as in extra innings, as the Gaels and Pioneers tried to settle things in the game at Olive Park.
While both teams saw their pitchers struggle, it was finally Holy Family that was able to take advantage of its opportunities down the stretch, as the Gaels scored nine runs in the eighth inning to walk away with a 22-14 victory.
“We didn’t do anything to win this game, they just played a little bit worse than we did,” Holy Family Coach Greg Ziomek said of Providence. “Am I happy with a win? Yes; any coach would be happy with a win. But we didn’t win this game, they were the ones who lost the game.”
Consistent pitching was something both the Gaels (2-7) and Pioneers (1-4) struggled with throughout Tuesday’s contest.
Providence was forced to send sophomore Monica Basurto into the circle after its starting hurler, junior Sierra Nelson, injured her knee during a nonleague game Saturday against Avalon on Catalina Island. Basurto only joined the team recently.
“That’s the problem with softball; you live and die with your pitcher,” Pioneers Coach Joel Curtis said. “Monica only joined the team in the middle of March, so if she had come in earlier and we would have had the time with her, maybe things would have been different.
“But I’ll tell you, she was a real trooper today. She’ll walk 10 girls in a row and she’ll just stay out there throwing. You gotta admire that.”
Unfortunately for Providence, Basurto hit her roughest patch in the eighth inning, and the Gaels made her pay for it. After the Pioneers tied the score at 13 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Holy Family quickly jumped on the hurler in the eighth. The Gaels scored nine runs in the frame on just two hits. Holy Family did, however, take advantage of eight walks and a hit batsman.
Providence tried to respond in its half of the eighth, but could account for just one run.
Holy Family received a fine performance from Tabatha Ruiz, who went four for five with a two-run home run, two walks, six runs scored and five runs batted in.
“We just have to make sure we don’t make a lot of mistakes like we did today,” Ruiz said. “We need to stop the ball better and just stay together as a team.”
The Pioneers also received a solid effort from a new player. Freshman Fabi Jimenez, fresh off of helping the Providence girls’ basketball team win a Liberty League championship and advance to the CIF Southern Section semifinals and the state tournament, just joined the team Thursday. But she is quickly picking up the sport she hasn’t played in two years.
Against Holy Family, Jimenez came off the bench and went two for three with a grand slam, a solo home run and five RBI.
The run production was low in the early going of the game, as the Pioneers scored three runs in the third inning to tie things at 3. But over the course of the next three innings, the squads combined for 12 runs.
Trailing, 11-7, after five innings, the Gaels pushed across six runs in the top of the seventh to roar back in front.
“We knew their pitcher wasn’t very good, so we told our girls to be patient and take the walks if they needed to” Ziomek said. “It wasn’t a very well played game on either side.”
Jimenez took over in the circle in the fifth inning, but struggled as well. In the game, the Providence pitchers gave up 24 walks.