By Chelsea Underwood |Staff Writer|
The Coyotes’ softball team suffered an unfortunate 3–1 road series loss against the Cal State East Bay Pioneers on April 6 and 7. CSUSB split the first doubleheader of the series on Friday with a 5-3 loss in the first game and a 2-0 victory in the second.
Being out for two weeks with an injury and coming in to pitch in a doubleheader was intense and scary, according to senior Courtney Wilhelms. However, she rose above her fear and threw a complete game shutout in the second game.
Throughout the season the team has been working hard in practice, trying to improve on their performance and execution in preparation for the games.
It paid off. They pounded out six hits and were flawless in the field as they had no errors in the 2–0 victory. With the win behind them and a 1-1 record in the series, it seemed that the Lady Coyotes had a chance to win the series.
The second double header began in disappointing fashion, as the Lady ‘Yotes gave up five runs in the first inning. Senior first baseman Felicia Cervantes had six put outs, but it was not enough to keep the Pioneers off the scoreboard as they went on to score two more times.
The 7–1 loss was a hard one for the ladies to swallow, but what was even more difficult to swallow was the 9–5 loss in the series finale, as the team suffered the 3–1 series loss.
“Our mental game is not strong,” said utility player Brittney Ybarra. “We let little things get in our way.”
Ybarra feels that the team has been brought down by their struggle to win games on a consistent basis. As a result, they have not been able to get into the game and focus like they should be.
According to Ybarra, facing the Pioneers for the first time this season was a good experience, because even though it was a tough, disappointing weekend, the coaches were being more positive towards the team.
The team has been rigorously working on improving their hitting and pitching in practice. Playing against the Pioneers has made it clear that there is work that still needs to be done.
What stood out during the series, according to Ybarra, was that the team needs to stay mentally focused when it comes to clutch hits, because they had missed opportunities like these before.
“With the talent we have, we shouldn’t be playing like that,” said Ybarra.
The highlight of the season so far, according to Ybarra, was their stellar performance against Sonoma State, as they exploded with a 13—run outburst to win 13–9. They scored 11 of the their 13 runs in the fourth inning alone.
With only two doubleheader series left, the girls are looking to finish out strong and show their opponents what they will be up against next season.
Photos by Chelsea Underwood