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SOFTBALL: Eagles pitcher soars in first league game

Immanuel Eagles pitcher Tylee Erickson allows no walks against the Exeter Monarchs in their first league game of the season

EXETER – After scoring seven in the first, freshman Natalia Delgadillo hit an in park home run to pad the Eagles score with three more runs in the third inning.

The Eagles defeated the Monarchs 15-1 in their first league matchup for the season on Wednesday, April 12. The Eagles dominated quickly, scoring seven runs in the top of the first inning before the Monarchs had even been on offense. In the third inning, freshman Natalia Delgadillo hit an inside home run for three more runs, putting the Eagles up by nine. Pitcher Tylee Erickson was a tough opponent for the Monarchs and didn’t walk a single batter the entire game. It was a great start to league play for the Eagles.

“We hit the ball hard,” Immanuel head coach Ryan Wood said. “We got the base hits, got the early lead like we wanted and only gave up a couple of hits.”

Erickson pitched the entire game for the Eagles and only allowed the Monarchs to score one run. In the second inning, Avery Hupp got a triple off of a hit to center field and was batted in by the next batter for Exeter’s only run of the game. After that, the Eagles didn’t allow a single batter to make it on base. Erickson only threw four more hits in the next three innings and all were either pop ups or were thrown out at first. She didn’t walk a single batter and struck out seven batters.

“She’s an ultimate competitor,” Wood said. “She’s not gonna give up free passes.”

On offense, Delgadillo was the standout for the Eagles with an inside home run in the third inning. With two runners on base, she effectively scored three runs for the Eagles on just one hit. It put the Eagles up 10-1 in just three innings. But for the freshman, it was a huge confidence boost in the first league game of the season.

While the score may not have been what the Monarchs wanted in their first league matchup, they didn’t let it get them down. Part of their goal as a program is focusing on what went well as a team. They’re a young team that are still gaining experience. Pitcher Anjali Velasquez only learned to pitch a month ago but she still stayed on the mound the entire game. She even struck out a batter in the second inning.

“We have to finish things that we start regardless of the score,” Exeter head coach April Zamora said. “As far as the girls being resilient, they have it. They will fight until the end.”

The Monarchs are 2-9 so far this season and aren’t looking to be league champions, but they are looking to teach their players life skills that they will take with them past softball season. For Zamora, it’s less important to win and more important to teach her players how to build a team environment in which they support each other and show respect for their opponents.

The Monarchs’ next matchup will be a tough game against the Hanford West Huskies, who are ranked 9-4 this season. The Monarchs will travel to Hanford on April 18.

Though the Monarchs may not have goals of winning league, the Eagles certainly do and have started off their season strong. They are 6-2 overall and have now kicked off league play with a 15-1 win. Their next game will be back at home on April 14 against the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers.

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