Pacheco High softball pitcher Gia Rodoni did it again Tuesday, throwing her second straight one-hit victory – this time against her former team in a 4-2 victory over Central Catholic on Monday.
The junior struck out 16 batters, but the Raiders were able to scratch out a pair of runs – one in the top of the first when Emily Raspo was hit by a pitch and later scored on a passed ball, and one in the top of the seventh when Tori Johnson walked and scored on a passed ball.
“I feel more competition (against Central), I have to step up my game against them,” Rodoni said. “And I just have to be myself and do what I do and trust my team that they’re going to have my back.”
Rodoni kept Central’s batters frozen for the most part – nobody even pulled the ball until Raspo led off the sixth inning with a double to left field. Raspo wound up stranded on third when Pacheco shortstop Sammy Jacques made a clean play for the third out.
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“The girl that did is a legit big-time ballplayer. Emily’s D-1 going to Mississippi,” Pahceco coach Charlie Pikas said. “That was a good swing she put on the ball, and two batters later you get the catcher, who is another good hitter, coming up, so it was big for Gia to get the ground ball and Sammy to make the play.”
Central coach Kara Dumlao said the Raiders were confident they could get to Rodoni, describing her as “easily rattled.”
“They were very excited and looking forward to it,” Dumlao said. “They really wanted to face her again, and they did good.”
Pacheco gave her enough of a cushion to work with, responding in the bottom of the first with two runs courtesy of Rodoni, who executed a squeeze bunt with runners on second and third and reached when Central tried to put out Arianna Barton at home. Rodoni then tried to advance and forced a pickle, which allowed Adrianna Tomasetti to score.
“That’s what we keep talking about – if we’re going to be successful, we’ve got to execute, and we’ve got to get timely hits,” Pacheco coach Charlie Pikas said. “Jazzy (Yruegas)’s hit up the middle (in the fourth, scoring Rodoni) was big. Having a two-strike count, she shortened up and put the ball in play up the middle and got a run. If we’re going to do anything bit the rest of the season, we’ve got to be able to execute and move runners and get them in when we get a chance.”
Yruegas’ RBI single in the fourth put Pacheco up 3-1, and Rodoni once again sparked the offense in the sixth with a triple to the right-field fence. She scored a play later on a Jacquez groundout.
Pikas said Rodoni’s pitching and a clean defense behind her made up two parts of a three-part equation, with catcher Yessenia Castillo as the third part.
“I believe that Gia has the ability to get the ball by anybody when she needs to,” Pikas said. “But I also have to have faith – and I do – in Yessenia to catch the ball. It’s funny, because people are going say that ball got by her, but they got crossed up on that pitch, and so should that last run have scored? Ah, who knows? But she’s been doing a great job catching her.”
Two days later, league-leading Ceres brought Pacheco back to reality with a 7-1 victory in Ceres. Pacheco managed just four hits, while the Ceres lineup got to Rodoni with 10 base knocks. Rodoni did strike out nine batters though, bringing her total from the three games since she became eligible to 45.