The Saddleback softball team ran its record to 3-0 on Wednesday with a sweep at Golden West College in Huntington Beach. The softball team breezed game one, 13-2, in six innings before cruising to an 8-3 win in game two.
The 2021 season was supposed to be nothing more than an opportunity to get in some games after 13 months of waiting and hoping for the COVID-19 pandemic to subside. Saddleback appears to have other plans after a sensation start to the abbreviated season.
Saddleback opened the season with a 2-1 victory against one of the premier programs in the state (Mt. San Antonio) last week and followed it up with a dominating sweep against Golden West on Wednesday.
The softball team scored six runs in the fourth inning to open up a 9-0 lead in the opening game of the double-header. They ended up breezing to a 13-2 win in six innings (mercy rule). Rachel Varela (picture from last season) was unstoppable at the plate, finishing 4-for-4 with two runs-scored and two RBI. She was part of a 14-hit attack from Saddleback as Marilyn Francisco finished with three hits while Anne Thibert and Veronica Belleza had two hits apiece.
Belleza was also dominating on the mound for a second straight game, pitching three scoreless innings while earning her second win of the season. Katie Schmidt came on in relief of Belleza and after a slow start in the fourth inning start settled down over the final two innings in her first work of the season. The duo faced just four batters over the minimum for the game.
Saddleback took a similar path in game two when they scored solo runs in the first and second innings and scored three more times in the third inning for a 5-0 lead. The softball team had an 8-1 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh inning before Golden West pieced together a few hits in cutting the lead to 8-3.
Saddleback's offense was on fire, rapping out 17 hits in the game. Seven different players had at least two hits in the game, including three each from Varela and Francisco. Varela finished the double-header 7-for-9 while Francisco was 6-for-9.
Belleza started game two of the double-header and pitched through the sixth inning in improving to 3-0 on the season. She had four strikeouts in game two and 10 on the day while bringing her total to 18 for the year.
Saddleback will host Golden West in a double-header on Friday on the Saddleback Softball Diamond. The first pitch for game one is scheduled for 12:00 PM.