‘Balers Show No Ill Effects

Despite bouts with illness hitting roughly half of the San
Benito softball team, including star pitcher Marissa Ibarra, the
Haybalers rolled to a pair of mercy-rule shortened wins in the
Mission City Invitational on Saturday at Mission College.
Despite bouts with illness hitting roughly half of the San Benito softball team, including star pitcher Marissa Ibarra, the Haybalers rolled to a pair of mercy-rule shortened wins in the Mission City Invitational on Saturday at Mission College.

San Benito opened play with a 9-0 win over Independence and then overcame a slow start to rout tournament-host Wilcox 11-2.

“It went OK,” ‘Balers coach Scott Smith said while assessing his team’s play. “We’ve got six or seven kids that are really sick. Marissa was really sick Saturday, but she toughed it out.”

Smith made some changes to the lineup, including flip-flopping Nos. 3 and 4 hitters Lizzy Gatto and Elena Fata.

Fata, who had been the cleanup hitter, responded well to the new spot in the order. She went 7 for 7 in the two games, including a two-run homer in the win over Independence.

“She tore it up,” Smith said. “She was hitting the ball all over the place.”

Senior catcher Ashley Perriera also had a strong weekend, reaching base several times with hits, walks and hit by pitches.

“If Perriera wasn’t getting a hit, she was getting hit by pitch or walking,” Smith said. “She’s just one of those kids that gives her body up for the team. She’s the most selfless hitter. She just wants to do whatever’s best for the team.”

Against Wilcox, both offenses were quiet for the first four innings and went into the fifth in a scoreless tie.

“We were very anxious,” Smith said. We were hitting bad pitches and we were pretty predictable.”

But in the fifth, the ‘Balers exploded. They scored 11 runs in the inning and the game ended due to the tournament’s seven-run mercy rule when the Chargers managed just two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Fata tripled twice in the inning and Audra Brown provided the biggest blow with a three-run triple.

San Benito earned the No. 1 seed for the championship round of the tournament and will take on Wilcox at 7pm Friday. If the ‘Balers win, they would face the winner of Evergreen and Leigh at 11am Saturday.

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