By Josh Bronson
Pilot staff writer
Playing in their fifth game in four days, the Brookings-Harbor High School softball team made the short trip down south to Crescent City as they lost to the host Del Norte Warriors 10-0 in five innings.
The Bruins (2-5) were missing four senior starters, and had several players playing positions they aren't used.
Three freshmen and three sophomores started for the Bruins while the only two seniors present Brooke Blofsky and Kara Miller did not play in their normal positions.
In the absence of starting pitcher Jessie Goergen, freshman Ciara Freeman got the nod in the pitching circle and pitched all five innings.
"Ciara just gets better and better every time she steps on the mound," Coach Steve Padilla said. "I'm really pleased with her improvement."
Freeman held the Warriors to five runs over the first three innings before Del Norte pounded out five runs in the bottom of the fourth.
Del Norte received an outstanding pitching performance from junior Alyssa Bergquist, who pitched a no-hitter against the Bruins.
The Warriors' Jennifer Gustafson went 3-for-3 on the day and Michelle Stacey was 2-for-3.
Bruins drop a pair to Marshall
While missing a few starters because of Spring Break, several of the Bruins' young guns got valuable playing time in a doubleheader against the class 5A Marshall Minutemen out of Portland.
The Minutemen took game one 12-2 in six innings and then romped to a 19-3 win in the second game.
"We had a lot of young kids out there and it was a good learning experience for them," Padilla said. "I was glad to see a lot of kids get the chance to play and we really improved over the course of the games."
Without Goergen, the Bruins handed the ball over to a couple of inexperienced pitchers.
Freeman took the mound in the opening game for the Bruins and looked a little shaky to start.
But after allowing six runs in the first inning and three runs in the second, Freeman found her groove and allowed just three runs the rest of the game.
"After the first couple of innings we were able to settle down," Padilla said. "And once we were settled, we played a tremendous amount better."
After giving up six runs to start the game, the Bruins tacked on one of their own in the bottom of the inning.
Freeman hit a hard shot that bounced through the legs of the shortstop and allowed Blofsky to score from second base.
The Bruins' only other run of the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning as Freeman blasted a gargantuan shot over the head of the right fielder for an inside-the-park home run.
Freeman led the Bruins with a pair of hits on the day and Jillian McCool, Miller, Blofsky, Jennifer Webre and Ashlee Murray each registered one hit.
In the second game, sophomore Sarah Pate took the mound for her first career varsity start.
Pate had the velocity, but had trouble keeping the ball down and gave up six runs in the first inning.
Miller took the mound in the second inning in her first appearance as a pitcher and finished the rest of the game.
The Minutemen put one run on the board in the second and four in the third before being shut down by Miller for the next three innings.
But Marshall rallied in the top of the seventh inning for eight runs as they went on to the 19-3 victory.
The Bruins scored their first run of game two in the bottom of the second as Webre took advantage of a wild pitch and slid home for the Bruins first run.
Freeman notched her third RBI of the day in the third inning as she knocked in Blofsky with a single down the first baseline.
During the next at-bat, Freeman scored on a bad throw after Jamie Kay beat out a grounder for an infield single.
Freeman, Kay and McCool registered the only Bruin hits in game two.
Blofsky did an excellent job behind the plate for the Bruins as she motivated and encouraged her young pitchers throughout the day.
Lady Bruins split with Phoenix
On Saturday, the Bruins started off their five-game stint with a doubleheader against the Phoenix Pirates on the road.
The Bruins took the first game in extra innings as they plundered the Pirates 11-9.
Webre came up with the big hit in the top of the seventh to tie up the game and send it into extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, the Bruins put three runs on the board in the top of the ninth inning to take control.
The Pirates came back with one of their own in the bottom of the inning, but it wasn't enough as the Bruins held on to win game one 11-9.
In the nightcap, the Bruins got in an early 5-0 hole and couldn't dig their way out as they fell to the Pirates 5-4.
The Bruins came on strong late in the game, tacking on a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings, but fell just one run short in the loss.
"We didn't start out very strong, but we fought back pretty well," Padilla said.
The softball team will be serving pizza at Wild River Pizza the next two Sundays to help pay for their new turf infield.
On Sunday, March 30 and Sunday, April 6, the team will be serving pizza from noon-3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m.
All tips that the team collects from the fundraiser will be matched by Wild River Pizza and go toward the Bruins' new infield.
The softball team will take the rest of the week off and then resume play at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 1 against Rogue River at home.
The JV softball team will travel to Rogue River on April 1 to take on the Chieftains at 4 p.m.