Tribe snap streak to Marauders

Tulare Union’s Mason Hatton pitches against Monache this past Wednesday night. Hatton pitched a complete game for the Tribe as they defeated Monache 5-2. (Kason Clark)

Tulare Union softball pulls out a 5-2 home victory over Monache; Tribe snaps a five-game losing streak to the Marauders and improve to 4-1 this season

TULARE – Over the past few years, Monache had gotten the better of Tulare Union softball. Heading into this past Wednesday night’s matchup, the Marauders had won five straight against the Tribe and were 6-1 in the past seven meetings in the series.

But that streak ended on March 6. At home, the Tribe defeated Monache, 5-2, for their first win in the series since 2021. As these coaches and players beat the Marauders for the first time in their careers, the Tribe believe this big win can set the tone for the rest of the season.

“This was big for us. This is my third year here and this is the first time we beat them,” Tulare Union head coach Carl Bivens said. “This was something that we had circled on the schedule that we really wanted to make a statement on.”

“This was good. We needed to boost our confidence for the upcoming season,” Tulare Union senior pitcher Mason Hatton said. “Our girls needed to know that we’re capable of beating someone that we hadn’t for so long so this is what we needed to get confidence for the rest of the season.

Along with snapping their streak against the Marauders, the Tribe improved to 4-1 on the young year. As the Tribe have played well to open the season, Bivens believes his players are just working well together.

“I would say the biggest thing on our team is our continuity. We really mesh,” Bivens said. “They all get along and they’re working together. We have some older kids and we have some younger kids who are first year varsity.”

While many players have made an impact, Hatton has especially done well for the Tribe on the mound. In their 2-0 victory over Kerman the day prior to the game against Monache, Hatton recorded 18 strikeouts. Then against the Marauders, Hatton notched 10 strikeouts for the Tribe. As she wraps up her final year with the Tribe, Hatton is determined to play her best before leaving the program.

“I just go into every game wanting to do my best,” Hatton said. “Knowing this is my last season in high school, I want to put out my best performances this year.”

Hatton has also made an impact at the plate for the Tribe. In the bottom of the first inning against Monache, Hatton recorded a sacrifice fly to get a runner home for the 1-0 lead. Her teammate Bellajah Nunley then came through with an RBI double to give the Tribe an early 2-0 lead.

“Our girls went up to the plate knowing that we needed to get hits to produce runs to win the game,” Hatton said about the Tribe’s hitting. “Our goal today was to start off hitting, which we did in the first inning when we scored the initial runs to set the tone for the game.”

The Tribe extended the lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the third when Nunley scored on an infield single from Destanee Early. But the Tribe could not put the game away yet as the Marauders came back in the top of the sixth.

With two runners on for Monache, Devynn Emerson hit a single to right field to drive in a run to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Marauders then recorded another single to drive in another run to make it a 3-2 game.

With it now a one-run game, the Tribe looked to retake momentum in the bottom of the sixth. Desteny Velasco created that spark with a double to center field to open the inning. Velasco then scored on a sacrifice bunt from Kayloni Cox to make it 4-2. Later in the inning, Hatton knocked in a run with a double to left field to make it a 5-2 game.

The Tribe got three quick outs in the top of the seventh to secure the win and drop the Marauders to 3-4 this season. As the Marauders move forward and try to get back to .500, Monache head coach Briana Bamber believes hitting is where they need to most improve.

“Hitting is still our main focus right now. We had a different lineup today as we’re trying new players in and trying to figure out a solid lineup for the season,” Bamber said. “Hitting is just our focus and our goal for this year so when we start doing that, we’re going to win more ball games.”

With their strong start to the season, the Tribe have been playing well across the board. But if there is one area of the game where Bivens believes the Tribe can still improve, it is at the plate.

“We still haven’t locked in our hitting where it should be,” Bivens said. “A lot of kids are young so when you’re facing varsity pitching, there’s different strategies, different mindsets and just getting them locked in. So our battle right now is just hitting.”

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