Roundup: Softball team drops first TCAL game in two years

Ellie Burley slides into home plate to score the first run of Tuesday's game for the Balers.

For the first time this year, the San Benito softball team found out what it’s like to lose a Tri-County Athletic League game. The Balers fell to Salinas 1-0 Tuesday — and now have lost two of their past seven games.

The game started well for the Balers in the top of the first inning.

Against Salinas’ Justine Armento, the Balers loaded the bases with three walks, but they couldn’t get a hit to drive in the game’s first run.

“The pitcher was a little wild and I think that hurt us a little bit,” head coach Scott Smith said. “We were sitting back on pitches and we are usually aggressive.”

In seven innings, San Benito walked eight times, but recorded only two hits.

“We didn’t get a lot of hits,” Smith said.

In the circle, Megan Sabbatini continued her hot streak, throwing all seven innings and allowing only one hit. That hit came in the bottom of the first inning and led to the Cowboys’ lone run.

After a lead-off single, the runner eventually advanced to third and scored on an error on a infield ground ball.

“They only hit one ball out of the infield all game,” Smith said. “We made a mistake and they took advantage of it.”

Despite the Balers’ struggles on the offensive end, Sabbatini kept the game close, striking out seven Cowboys.

“The best thing was Megan is back,” Smith said. “She did a great job.”

Offensively, the Balers threatened every inning, but could never get a run-producing hit.

“Their pitcher was throwing great,” Smith said. “We haven’t been shut out in a while — a long time actually. So for her to shut us out shows how good she pitched.”

It was the first time the Balers failed to score a run since a 7-0 loss to Notre Dame in April 2010.

The loss, though, could help the Balers later this year, Smith said.

“I really think this is going to benefit us later,” Smith said. “The girls aren’t confused or worried, they are angry. We want another shot at them. I hope this puts a fire under them, instead of us going into each game expecting to win. We want to prove a point.”

The loss ends the Balers 21-game TCAL winning streak — dating back to 2010 — and sends the Balers to a 7-1 record inside the league. The Balers remain in first place, though, one game ahead of 6-2 Salinas.

Overall, San Benito — ranked 14th in the state by ESPN’s Cal-Hi sports — holds a 14-2 record.

The Balers travel to Gilroy at 4 p.m. on May 1.

SBHS baseball

The Balers used an eight run first inning to blow away North Salinas 12-0 Tuesday and win their seventh-straight TCAL game.

San Benito scored early and often in Salinas on Tuesday. After a lead-off walk by Josh George and a infield single by Ryan Jacob, catcher Jacob Tonascia got San Benito on the board with a double and two RBIs.

San Benito wouldn’t stop.

The Balers batted around three times in the first two innings to build a 10-0 lead. Ten Balers finished with at lead one hit, and eight batters drove in at least one run.

“It has to be execution,” manager Billy Aviles said. “When we had someone in scoring position, we knocked them in. We are starting to roll, and it’s coming at the perfect time.”

Anthony Ocampo led the San Benito offense, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Jose Guzman finished 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs.

The Balers emptied their bench once they grabbed the large lead, Aviles said.

“It was great to see,” Aviles said. “Everyone got to play.”

On the mound, Jake Cabral, Tyler Pina and Cody Gessell combined for a five inning shutout.

San Benito hosts Alvarez at 4 p.m. Friday.

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