The Clovis West Golden Eagles softball team has been in an offensive groove to begin the 2020 season.
Scoring over seven runs per game, the team has bludgeoned most opponents it has taken on.
But Bullard High pitcher Jazzy Castaneda was up to the task of quieting those hot bats, allowing zero runs over 6.1 innings in a 6-4 win over the Golden Eagles Wednesday afternoon.
“She spun the ball really well up in the zone,” Golden Eagles coach Hilaree Bennett said about Castaneda. “We were chasing balls and letting strikes go by.”
Castaneda allowed five hits, and only set the Golden Eagles down in order just twice in her outing. But when she did allow runners to reach scoring position in the second and fifth innings, Castaneda was able to find the pitch she needed to escape any damage.
And the Knights’ offense did its best to further prop up her outing, as well.
Leilynn Alvarez and Jacque Haros both knocked in runs in a two-run third inning for Bullard. Castaneda got into the offensive act herself with a solo home run in the seventh inning, right after a three-run sixth inning for the Knights.
The Golden Eagles weren’t completely devoid of opportunities to score, though. Clovis West found itself with a great opportunity to cut into a 2-0 Bullard lead in the fifth inning, but a bit of controversy struck involving the umpires.
With two outs, Emily Hoffman doubled, which was immediately followed with a single by Breanah Kith.
Kith attempted to steal second base and initially made it in safely, but was tagged out after coming off the bag. While this was happening, Hoffman appeared to have scored as she was ruled to have touched home plate before Kith was tagged.
Bennett was told after the inning was over that Alex Wright, who was at-bat during the entire sequence, was called out on strikes after there was some initial confusion about what the count was.
“Apparently he had strike two and that was strike three,” Bennett said. “I didn’t see him ring Wright up on that strike.”
Clovis West didn’t go down quietly the rest of the way, however. Destyne White showed her opposite-field power as the left-handed hitter launched a ball over the left-field wall with plenty of room to spare in the sixth inning.
Avery Hannigan and Madison Rey also scored in the frame to bring the deficit to just three.
And with just three outs left in the contest, the Golden Eagles put together a rally in the home half of the seventh once Castaneda was subbed and moved to first base, replaced on the mound for the time being by Emily Puente.
Kith led off the inning with a single and was chased home by Rey. Wright and White both walked in the inning, putting the potential tying runs on base and prompting Bullard coach Joseph Lee to bring Castaneda back to the mound.
And that is all it appeared to take as Taylor Boele and Danyelle Renteria made outs in order to end the rally and the game.
It was just the second time in 2020 that the Golden Eagles have been held to fewer than five runs.
Clovis West has some time to get over the loss and the offense back on track as the next time the team plays is March 17 at Madera.