By Nate Sanchez
After the second of two double headers in two days, the ‘Runner softball team walked away from the Roadrunner Softball Complex for the last time this season with a win and three losses against St. Mary’s College in their final home series of the year. By the end of the weekend, the ‘Runners’ record stood at 14-28 with a 9-11 record within their conference.
“It’s a hard schedule to do, even in the Bakersfield heat,” Head Coach Crissy Buck said after the final game. “We’re a young team and we’re learning to fight through that.”
The heat took a toll on the ‘Runners, making the final 10-inning loss that much more agonizing. After a rocky start, freshman pitcher Amber Mills was able to pitch eight shutout innings until the unfortunate tenth inning.
“We didn’t get the outcome we wanted but we put a pretty good fight out there,” said Amber Mills. “We could’ve done better with our hitting, though.”
Senior Laura King led the offensive charge in the final game, one in which runs were a rare occurrence. King finished the series 6-for-14 at the plate, scoring a run in the process.
“We definitely didn’t take the opportunities we had,” King said. “We’re a better team than this.”
The ‘Runners were plagued with errors, recording nine total in the series, six of which came in the final game of the series.
“We were making errors,” King said. “We basically gave them the game.”
Despite the final scores, Mills was a key part of the four-game series against the Gaels. In two days, Mills pitched a total of 20 innings. During her extended time on the mound for the ‘Runners, she only allowed four earned runs.
“Amber did a fantastic job,” Buck said. “We just didn’t help her out defensively.”
As the ‘Runners looked to conclude their final homestand of the year, King looked to conclude her final homestand as a ‘Runner. Before the games, she was honored along with the seniors on the opposing team for their roles as leaders and players on their respective teams.
“She’s a great kid for our program to send off,” Buck said about the only senior on her team. “She’s a great role model. She works hard on and off the field and I’m really proud of the growth she’s had.”
Despite the ‘Runners’ record of 14-28, King has high hopes for the team she’ll leave this year.
“I think they’ve got a good shot next year,” King said. “There are great players on this team. Great hitters, great pitchers, I think they’ll come out and surprise a lot of people.”
Buck seconded King’s notion, saying that this season, her second at the helm of the ‘Runner softball team, has been a season for growth, and that her team has done an excellent job of accomplishing their goals.
Although the ‘Runners only won one game of the four they played against the Gaels, the ‘Runners were able to put the loss behind them by game’s end, looking forward to Friday’s game against BYU in Provo, Utah.