Pierce’s softball team may have lost their doubleheader against Santa Monica Tuesday Feb. 25 at home, but scored a victory by taking the field after having to cancel their first seven games of the season.
Santa Monica opened up the game with an inside the park homerun and continued to display a strong offense throughout game.
Multiple errors by Pierce also helped Santa Monica take the first game by a score of 22-0 and the second with a 29-7 final score. Both games were played to the fifth inning.
“We executed our game plan. We ran plays and we ran them correctly”, said Santa Monica head coach Daniel Soto. “We’ve had a tough time with that. In the last two games and these ones included we’ve really come into our own. It was really frustrating before that”.
Coach Soto was aware of the recent trouble Pierce’s softball team has had to endure and was impressed with the their resolve.
“We didn’t know what to expect coming out here. I know they had a tough time fielding a team and they got one going on late in the year. They gave us an honest effort”, Soto said. “A lot of times when it’s tough like that sometimes you think you’re going to come out and these girls are just going to quit on you and your team doesn’t really get any work in. But these girls really gave it their all and we really appreciate that”.
Pierce’s softball team was in danger of being cut because of a shortage of eligible players according to Pierce’s athletics director Bob Lofrano.
“We had to cancel a lot of games and that’s not right”, Lofrano said. “It’s just a matter of getting them eligible”.
In order for a player to gain eligibility they must pass academic as well as medical requirements. Along with enrolling in 12 units and maintaining at least a 2.0 GPA, they must also submit to physical examinations.
According to assistant coach Danny Moore, eligibility must come from both outside and within the school.
“They need to have a physical examination and have a medical form stamped by a doctor”, Moore said. “Then they need to be examined by our staff, given a concussion test and things like that before they’re cleared for play.”
Former player Susanna Suard said the reason some players didn’t return from last season was because of the difficulty with the coaching staff combined with the appeal of playing for other schools.
“I stopped playing about a month ago because only three girls showed up to tryouts,” Suard said. “Last year there was like 16 girls showed up to tryouts and we had a lot of great girls come out and play but there was like six girls going to different junior colleges where the program was actually a softball program.”
Suard also believes the absence of head coach Pat Grennan was felt by the team and perhaps contributed to the lack of interest.
“It’s just hard when colleges around us have a four coaching staff that are working on batting, fielding all that kind of stuff and we only have one coach,” Suard said. “The girls didn’t want to go to practice anymore.”
Coach Moore addressed the difficulty with getting players early in the season.
“It’s hard getting girls in the beginning because the preseason stars before school does,” Moore said.
As for the absence of coach Grennan, who could not be reached for comment, Pierce’s athletic’s director offered this explanation.
“He’s been battling [a] kind of an illness. I’ll just say that, it’s personal,” Lofrano said. “We kind of thought he’d be there yesterday, but he’s been sick. So we’ re battling through it. The girls are doing a good job. They’re out there and that’s what we want them to do. Just get out there and play.”
Santa Monica continued to play well in the second game of the day but Pierce began to come together in the third inning as they held Santa Monica to one run. During the top of the third inning pitcher Vanessa Sanchez threw out a runner heading home from third with team captain Marissa Sanchez covering the plate at catcher.
In the bottom of the third the Brahmas came alive with a rally that began with an RBI double into left center field by captain Marissa Sanchez to drive in the teams first run of the season.
“I went up to bat at the bottom of the third, Danny said ‘Breathe Marissa, breathe’”, Sanchez said. “I took a deep breath, pitch came at me, I just ripped it”.
Samantha Buliavac also hit the team’s first home run of the season.
“I just thought ‘I hate running’”, Buliavac said. “Might as well hit it over the fence and just jog around the bases”.
Coach Moore expressed his delight at finally kicking off the season for the softball team..
“It’s a relief. It was kind of rushed because we just came together at the last minute, over the last week and a half but it feels good,” Moore said. “The girls came out and they hit the ball well. They definitely need some work on defense and pitching. The girls showed a lot of potential”.