By Vern Hee
The unstoppable, undefeated first-place Bishop Gorman Gaels pounded the Lady Trojans into submission 10-0 on Monday. The Gaels did it with the pitching of sophomore sensation Dayton Yingling. She pitched her first no-hitter in five innings at the high school level on Monday in 4-A Southwest League play in front of a crowd at Floyd Field.
The defeat by the Gaels mathematically eliminated the Trojans from the playoff contention.
Last Monday, it was all about the pitching and the lack of hitting on the Trojans. On Friday, Head Coach Elias Armendariz said for his team to beat the Gaels he had to minimize errors and get timely hitting from his team. Neither of that happened. The Trojans compiled five errors on the game. In just the second inning, the Trojans had three errors, one at each base, costing four runs to put them down 6-0.
To make matters worse, the Trojans had a bad call that could have turned the game’s momentum the other way. In the top of the first, Shelby Estocado made it to third base on steals. Trojan Catcher Casey Sierra tried to pick her off at third in a perfect throw to third baseman, Miranda Monje. The umpire called her safe but the PVT has her out in photographic evidence. That would have been the second out of the game, but instead Estocado scores on the next hit. Roderick ends up striking out the next two batters. Gorman scores two that inning but could have been scoreless if the call went in favor of the Trojans.
Pitcher Yingling was fast and accurate. Her mechanics were flawless. After each pitch, she would send the ball hurling to the plate with a clippy yelp that sounded like a martial arts kiah. Trojan batters at the plate were mystified swinging late or fouling down the right field line. The latter a sure sign that they were behind the ball on the swing. Yingling threw 80 pitches, struck out 14 batters, had one fly out, walked one, and hit one batter. In fact, the only time the Trojans had base runners was during the third when Yingling walked the lead off batter, Melanie Lawdensky, and then hit the next batter with a pitch. Still, Yingling did not falter after that as she struck out the next three consecutive Trojan batters in a row.
Up until this game against the Gaels, the Trojans were hitting strongly. Against Bonanza Trojans out hit them 10 to 7 despite losing that game. In the Spring Valley game, Pahrump had 17 hits to the Grizzlies’ 14. Then against Clark they had five hits to the Chargers two. They faltered a bit against Durango getting only three but bounced back against Sierra Vista game with six hits.
Going into the Sierra Vista game last Friday, the Trojans had four strong hitters close to .300 or better. Monje was hitting .467, Sara Zinnecker was hitting .429, Amanda Pryor was hitting .333 and Whitney Roderick was hitting .292. These numbers tell the story of why the Lady Trojans have surged in hitting in the last three games. Yingling stopped the hitting cold and put the Trojans on ice the entire game.
The only highlight of the game for the Trojans came on defense in the top of third inning. The Gaels had just scored two runs to make it 8-0 and the Trojans desperately needed a third out when Estocado, for Gorman, belted a ball deep into foul territory along the third base line. The ball appeared to be going over the fence when left fielder Lawdensky ran the ball down and made a running catch to snag it for the third out.
Armendariz was disappointed in his team’s performance and said that Yingling was one of the best pitchers they have faced all year.
“She pitched really well today. The team really did not know she had a no hitter going. They were just concerned with trying to make contact with the ball.”
Yingling said she had no idea she was pitching a no-hitter until the end.
“I was expecting a few base hits, and I was not really thinking about the no-hitter. I was thinking about hitting my spots and throwing as hard as I can.”
Last year the Trojans had no problem hitting Yingling. Yingling said since last year she has practiced every day of the year to improve her pitching and that made the difference.
Gaels Coach Kevin Smith said no-hitters do not happen very often in softball.
“Usually you get a bloop hit every now and then. She has thrown a one-hit game before so this was her first no-hit game,” he said.
The Gaels have two more games before regional playoffs start. Smith said his team is ready and that the team just has to worry about beating themselves.
Armendariz said he wants his team to finish strong in their next two outings against Western on Tuesday and the season closer against Desert Oasis on Thursday.
In order to finish strong, the team has to come out like they did against the Sierra Vista last Friday where the Trojans beat the Lions 9-3 in front of a home crowd. In that game, the pitching of Whitney Roderick was spot on as she had 12 strike outs in the game that went seven innings.
All the elements of a great game came together in the third inning of that game. It was the bottom of the third. The pitcher for Sierra Vista, Richardson, had control issues and hit two batters with the pitch in a row and then walked one to load the bases for Kristal Kaiwi. Kaiwi has been a great utility player off the bench lately. She had 5 runs batted in, RBIs, up to that point and with bases loaded she hit a blooper base hit to center field that scored one run. Then Mallory Busby hit another rocket to center field that scored two more runs. With the score 3-0 and one runner on, Roderick ripped one through the legs of the second baseman for the third hit of the inning and the fourth run. During that inning, the Trojans scored five runs.
In the top of the fourth, the Lions scored one run on a base hit. Then in the top of the fifth, with the score 5-1 the Trojans brought in Amanda Pryor to finish up the game and to give her arm a workout. She has been the backup pitcher all year. Pryor got off to a rocky start by walking the first batter. That batter went to third by stealing two bases and then scored on a fielder’s choice ground ball to third. The next hitter hit a base hit to right field which scored the third run and that brought Whitney Roderick back in to finish the game. Pryor had a shaky outing with two runs on 13 pitches and 2 hits. Roderick came back in and retired the side.
The Trojans had two more big innings. In the top of the fifth, with runners on first and second Whitney Roderick lays down a beautiful sacrifice bunt that moves the runners to second and third for Rankin. Rankin belts a base hit to center that scores two more runs to make the score 7-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, the lady Trojans iced the Lions by scoring two more runs. Trojans have 2 outs runners on first and second and Roderick comes to the plate and belts a double which scored two more runs. Roderick took third on the throw.
Monday was senior day as the Lady Trojans honored the three seniors departing the team.
The following seniors were given flowers by the team, starting third baseman Monje, starting first baseman Tranyce Rankin and outfielder Clara Martinez.
Pahrump is now 5-9 on the year in seventh place. If they win the next two games against Western on Tuesday and Desert Oasis on Thursday to end the season they could move up one possibly two places in the standings.