By Mike Miller
Nordhoff softball coach Don Rodarte will be sporting a new look this week. After beating the Oaks Christian Lions, 4-3, Rodarte made good on a promise to his team to shave his head. The thrilling 4-3 win over their rivals improved the team’s record to 3-6 overall and 1-2 in Tri-Valley League play.
The loss at the hands of the Lady Rangers is the first-ever Tri-Valley League defeat for Oaks Christian, according to Rodarte. He said, “After the game I told my girls that showing maturity to win games comes through game experience, whether that experience is good or bad. The important thing is to remember those experiences and learn from them.”
The game was a thriller that came down to the very last out before a winner was decided. Samantha Perez got the Rangers going with a shot to right field that got over the head of the Lions’ outfielder for a two-run home run, giving NHS the 2-1 lead. Oaks Christian battled back to take the lead in the fifth, but then McKenna Myers broke out of an early season slump with a hit that could not have come at a better time for the Rangers. Myers belted a shot to center field for an RBI double, scoring Hanna Riley. Riley, who had taken a line drive off her knee to start the game, earned the respect of her coach. He said, “It was loud and painful, however, she kept her composure and picked up the ball and threw out the batter. Hanna sucked it up and played tough the rest of the game.”
The Lady Rangers would take the lead for good when Ashley Pulido hit a solo home run. Pulido also pitched for the Rangers and kept the game close down the stretch. The drama was thick in the seventh and final inning, when an overthrow back to Pulido was picked up by Myers, who threw out the Oaks Christian runner at home. Rodarte recounted the play, “The runner took advantage of the situation and ran home, but the heads-up play and hustle of Myers and Pulido got her out on a close play.”
Kelsey Endo sealed the win by ending the drama and making the final out of the game for the Lady Rangers. The Rangers will return to action on March 29 when they face Channel Islands at 11 a.m. They will play Oaks Christian again on April 17 at Oaks Christian.