Woodlake Tigers keep on rolling

Woodlake’s Noemi Aldana hits the ball against Kennedy.(Kason Clark)

Woodlake softball wins 10-0 in six innings at home against Kennedy; Tigers now stand at 6-0 this season and have not allowed a run in their last four contests

WOODLAKE – The Tigers have been rolling to open this spring; and the Kennedy Thunderbirds were not the team to slow them down. This past Thursday at home, Woodlake softball started strong and finished strong to defeat Kennedy, 10-0, in six innings.

“We did some good things,” Woodlake head coach Ramon Lara said about the victory. “We hit a few balls hard, the pitching was good and the defense was good for the most part. So it was a good team effort.”

With the victory on March 14, the Tigers improved to 6-0 to start the year. They have been playing especially well in their last four contests, where they have outscored their competition 49-0. With their dominant play, Woodlake junior Hannah Lafferty believes the Tigers have been led by their depth and pitching.

“We have a really good pitcher and even if she has her off days, we have a really strong team throughout the entire lineup,” Lafferty said. “With our 14 girls, we use them however we can. If they don’t have strong at bats, we’ll use them as a runner if they’re fast. If they’re better at hitting but not running, we’ll switch them out. So, I think we have a really strong team throughout.”

In the opening inning against Kennedy, the Tigers set the tone. After reaching third base, Ella Lara scored on a fielder’s choice to give Woodlake the lead. A few at bats later, Mareli Zamora scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0.

Tatiyana Perez kept it rolling with a single to center field to drive in a run for the Tigers. A Kennedy error then allowed Lourdes Cervantes to score to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead to end the first inning. The Thunderbirds kept Woodlake scoreless over the next few innings, but the Tigers eventually came roaring back.

In the bottom of the fifth, the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs. They capitalized on the opportunity when a Kennedy error allowed a runner to score. Lourdes Cervantes then scored on a fielder’s choice to make it a 6-0 lead. A fielder’s choice then drove in another run to make it a 7-0 game to end the inning. 

While the Tigers got some runs on the board, they also held it down defensively throughout the evening. Starting pitcher Audrina Rodriguez had a strong night for the Tigers as she did not allow the Thunderbirds to score a single run. It was the fourth straight shutout win for Woodlake as its defense has rounded into form.

“Our pitching has been on point and our defense has been on point,” Ramon Lara said. “When you get a good combo of defense and pitching, you’re going to have a good squad.”

In the sixth inning, the Tigers scored a few runs to end the game early. They first scored on another Kennedy error to extend the lead. Lafferty then drove in another run with a double to left field.

In the last at bat of the game, Rodriguez put the ball in play to cause an error. This allowed a runner to score to make it a 10-0 lead to end the night. As the bats did enough to get the runs in, Lafferty credits it to the Tigers’ energy and preparation.

“We worked a lot at practice. We worked on waiting on the ball because we knew that was what we would need today,” Lafferty said. “When our dugout gets super loud, it puts the pressure on and it makes the team excited and happy and it helps our girls get ahead.”

With their dominant play as of late, it would look like the Tigers have found their momentum early in the year. But coach Lara would like to see the Tigers improve their approach at the plate as they head further into the season.

“We need a little more consistency at the plate. I feel like we have really good innings and really bad innings,” Lara said. “We need to have good at bats through the whole game and make sure that we compete every at bat.”

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