Softball: St. Lucy’s did everything but produce when it mattered, losing 2-0 to Glendora

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.”

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  • Softball Fan

    These two teams are quite close in skill level and depth. I would not be surprised if St. Lucy’s returns the favor on Friday. In spite of the SGV rankings, the true powerhouses of the Sierra both are in Chino Hills. Glendora is vastly overrated.

    The pitching edge was with O’Toole, save the one “mistake” pitch. Quite frankly I am surprised at the umpires were allowing Argyle to “crow hop” (an illegal pitch) on several occasions, especially when there was a two-strike count.

    Not that it would provide Argyle with an overwhelming advantage to pitch with a crow hop, it would likely reduce her effectiveness if she was forced to pitch properly by keeping that back foot planted.

    Overall, it was a good game and enjoyable to watch. Hats off to the players on both teams.

  • Softball Fan

    These two teams are quite close in skill level and depth. I would not be surprised if St. Lucy’s returns the favor on Friday. In spite of the SGV rankings, the true powerhouses of the Sierra both are in Chino Hills. Glendora is overrated.

    The pitching edge was with O’Toole, save the one “mistake” pitch. Quite frankly I am surprised at the umpires were allowing Argyle to “crow hop” (an illegal pitch) on several occasions, especially when there was a two-strike count.

    Not that it would provide Argyle with an overwhelming advantage to pitch with a crow hop, it would likely reduce her effectiveness if she was forced to pitch properly by dragging the back foot properly.

    Overall, it was a good game and enjoyable to watch. Hats off to the players on both teams.

  • Homer

    Easy there town cryer. It wasn’t O’Tool’s one pitch, or the umpires lack of judgement here. St. Lucys just flat out failed to execute with runners in scoring position.

  • Softball Fan

    Homer — I agree with you (except the “cryer” part), SL couldn’t get a clutch hit. It’s strange to watch some of these teams in league play vs. tournament play. SL seems to freeze up during league, and the opposite is true for Glendora.

    In tourney play, SL is relaxed and they can really impress. Glendora is not as fired up as you might think, after witnessing Bonita handling them rather easy.

    In regards to the mistake pitch — it was a great hit and the hitter is known for power to right. The pitch was in her wheel house, waist high and off the outside corner. I’m sure the pitcher would have preferred keeping it low and inside if she could do it over.

  • In this corner…..

    Rather frustrating for St Lucy’s to leave so many runners in scoring position, But in this instance the coaches lack of experience showed, He should have brought out the small ball out but didn’t. Coulda woulda shoulda……….

  • http://yahoo.com softballwatcher

    Homer is right. SL does not have power and should have pulled out the small ball. Quit trying to be something you’re not. When your batters have that many strike outs the fielders can become complacent and you must force them to make plays. If your batters can’t put the ball in play with full swings then you must pull out the small ball and force the opponent to make plays. Experienced coaches make “in-game adjustments” inexperienced coaches don’t think at all.

  • what’s a crow hop?

    Soft ball fan why is the “crow hop” pitch illegal? What advantage does it give the pitcher and what disadvantage does it give the hitter? Don’t know squat about softball but I found that comment interesting to say the least. Also what doe that say about the Glendora coaching staff if they allow her to use it as a “go to” pitch? If I understand your comment you are saying the pitcher knows it’s illegal right?

  • Softball Fan

    Here’s a decent example of a crow hop:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsFIYjkmpuE

    The CIF crow hop rule is here:

    http://www.cifstate.org/sports/rules/pdf/Softball%20memo1%2010.pdf

    A crow hop is an illegal pitch, that’s just the rules (result of an illegal pitch: each runner advances a base and the pitch is called a ball).

    Many umpires don’t like to call it because they are bound to continue to call it every time. This is a holdover treatment that umpires give for rec ball pitcher. Often pitchers get away with it in league or tournament games at the high school level, but it doesn’t make it right. A good umpire will call it regardless.

    But when you get into CIF playoffs, which Glendora is likely to do, you can bet they will be in trouble unless their pitcher corrects this.

    In regards to small ball — I think it is very advantageous to have that as an offensive weapon. But usually you have your slappers at the top of the line up to try to get the pitcher and defense off balance. They generally run faster and are more likely to score from second, steal bases, advance on fly balls or ground outs, etc.

    Putting the slappers at the bottom of the lineup lets the defense settle in and they are may be more likely to be in a position to drive in runs, which is more difficult to do when dropping slap hits and bunts in the infield. A coach may not have speed on the bases and it negates the advantage of playing small ball.

  • justthetruth

    Seems like the Regents don’t do well in games after school. They always do better with games on Saturdays,days off or later in the evenings. You are right, the lack of small ball killed them.

  • http://yahoo.com SoftballWatcher

    Quit crying about a crow hop pitch. That did not give the pitcher an advantage over the batters. Simply put the SL batters did not put the ball in play. Crow hops are in the judgement of the umpire just like any other call. If you can’t even put a bat on the ball then you don’t deserve to win, it’s that simple.
    As far as small ball-a good team and coach should have all of his/her batters able to perform small ball plays not just two at the top of the lineup. That’s the difference between baseball and softball and SL needs to recognize the difference.

  • lizzytish

    Come on Fred, absolutely nothing said about yesterday’s game between SL and Glendora? It was nip and tuck all through the game till Kristin Peterson (KP) came up to bat in the 8th and hit the double, and Hernandez smart softball savvy to run on her strikeout to 1st.

    Caught SL off guard, and set up KP to zip it home after becerra’s flyout to right.

    Sure was an exciting.,.sometimes confusing last two innings.

    Too bad the trib chose to miss it…..

  • Nathan Donovan

    SL lack of coaching showed today. Coach has a top pitcher but cannot win. I have not seen improvement of this team. I think SL needs to look at who they have leading.