By Fred J. Robledo
If there was a week circled on the St. Lucy’s softball calendar, this had to be it. Not only are the Regents competing in the Charter Oak tournament, where they defeated Montebello 6-0 on Monday to advance to Saturday’s championship against Bonita, but they also have a pair of critical Sierra League rivalry games with neighboring Glendora. Round one didn’t go so good. While their tournament success has given them a lift, the Regents’ opportunities with runners in scoring position didn’t fare so well against the Tartans on Wednesday, losing 2-0 behind a big-time performance from Tartans junior pitcher Carly Argyle.
St. Lucy’s sophomore Danielle O’Toole was steady in the circle also, striking out nine while allowing just four hits, but there is one pitch she would like to have back.
After getting the first two outs in the third inning, O’Toole hit Natalie Hernandez to put her on first, then Audrie Becerra followed with a two-run homer to right for the only runs of the game.
Argyle gave up three hits and survived three errors because of her 11 strikeouts, most of which were extremely timely.
St. Lucy’s had a runner on first and second with one out in the first, but Argyle struck out the next two to get out of it.
St. Lucy’s had a runner on third with one out in the second, but Argyle struck out the next two to get out of the jam.
The third and fifth innings were nearly identical. The Regents had runners on second and third with one one. But each time Argyle struck out the next two to escape.
Finally in the sixth inning the Regents loaded the bases with one out after a hit and two errors, but this time Argyle got a pop-out and ground-out to get out of it.
The Regents fell to 12-8 and 0-3 in the Sierra after going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
“It was about as frustrating a game as you can have,” said St. Lucy’s coach Ryan Nuveman, also the brother of St. Lucy’s softball great and U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Stacey Nuveman. “Unfortunately it’s not new, we lost a few games like that this year. I can think of about that three losses this way where we’re not executing with runners in scoring position.”
Glendora will face St. Lucy’s again on Friday after improving to 14-3 and 3-0 in the Sierra.
“It was one of those wins where you say, ‘oh my gosh,’ how do we get ourselves into these situations,” Tartans coach Reese Mitchell said. “They weren’t getting a lot of hits, but they always had runners on base. A few walks here, some errors there, and mental errors that allowed runners to steal bases and get in position to score. We can’t continue to do that to ourselves.
“Fortunately she (Argyle) buckled down and made great pitches when she needed them. She’s great in that way, but it puts a lot of pressure on her and lot of pressure on ourselves when we don’t do the simple things.”
Mitchell was not surprised by Becerra’s power, going opposite field with the two-run homer to right.
“We have three or four kids who can hit that ball well, but they want to pull everything,” Mitchell said. “Audrie has (gone the other way) throughout her career. She hit a big home run going the opposite field in the Charter Oak tournament. It was a big hit, otherwise we might still be out their playing because their pitcher (O’Toole) was doing a heck of a job.”