Sports

Atwater wins softball showdown with Golden Valley to takeover first place in CCC.

Atwater High senior pitcher Megan Escobar celebrates the final out of the Falcons’ 6-1 victory over Golden Valley on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Golden Valley High in Merced, Calif.
Atwater High senior pitcher Megan Escobar celebrates the final out of the Falcons’ 6-1 victory over Golden Valley on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Golden Valley High in Merced, Calif. Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

Atwater High softball coach Jenna Boesch’s cell phone starts blowing up the night before a game. She knows it’s her players placing their orders.

“Yesterday we asked the girls ‘what do you need to be successful?’” Boesch said.

Boesch and her assistant coach will take time out of their day to go shopping for the players’ list. The list usually includes things like Calypso lemonade or drinks from Starbucks. On Wednesday one player asked for carne asada fries from the gas station near the school.

“They text us their order,” Boesch said. “It’s mostly superstitious things. Then at lunch time they all come in my room.”

Whatever the Falcons are doing, it’s working.

Atwater came out swinging on Wednesday, racking up 15 hits as the Falcons won the battle of Central California Conference unbeatens with a 6-1 win over Golden Valley at Golden Valley High.

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Golden Valley pitcher Marissa Bertuccio covers home as Atwater’s Alexa Ortiz (9) slides across the plate after a passed ball during the Falcons 6-1 win over the Cougars on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Golden Valley High in Merced, Calif. Shawn Jansen Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

The Falcons (12-3 overall) took over sole possession of first place in the CCC at 6-0. Golden Valley dropped to 14-2 overall and 6-1 in the CCC.

“This is the goofiest, funniest team,” Boesch said. “They’re that way all the time, but they blow me away with their ability of two seconds later hitting a home run. They can turn it off and on really quick.”

With first place in the CCC on the line, the Falcons weren’t fooling around against Golden Valley’s ace Marissa Bertuccio.

Atwater hitters came out aggressive, often swinging at the first pitch they saw. The strategy worked as the 15 hits and six runs were almost more hits and runs than Bertuccio has given up in her last 10 games.

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Atwater High catcher Kendall Flatt tags out Golden Valley’s Michaela Key at the plate during the Falcons’ 6-1 win over the Cougars on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Golden Valley High in Merced, Calif. Shawn Jansen Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

“We all had a pretty aggressive mindset,” said Atwater senior Megan Escobar. “We know how good Marissa is, she’s a good pitcher. We came out swinging.”

The game feature a matchup of two future Division I college pitchers in Bertuccio (Sacramento State) and Escobar (UC Santa Barbara).

Atwater got to Bertuccio early with two runs in the first inning as Shelli Faulk and Sarah Warden drove in runs with base hits.

The Falcons bats kept the pressure on all game.

Escobar led the hit parade with three hits. Teammates Marley Gonzales, Kendall Flatt, Warden, Lexuss Ponce and Mia Gonzales all added two hits.

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Atwater High ace Megan Escobar delivers a pitch against Golden Valley on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 at Golden Valley High in Merced, Calif. Shawn Jansen Sjansen@mercedsun-star.com

“That was our normal approach,” Boesch said. “We want to hit the ball a lot. I know softball can turn into a small ball game, but we want to swing the bat.”

Escobar did her part to shut down a potent Golden Valley offense. The senior right-hander struck out six and gave up just one unearned run and five hits. She needed just 88 pitches with 57 of them going for strikes.

“She is all softball all of the time,” Boesch said. “She’s either thinking about it or talking about it. Anything Megan does, she’s thinking about how it will affect her game.”

Meanwhile, the rest of the players are thinking about what they’ll order for the next game day.

“We all have the goofiest atmosphere,” Escobar said. “We all like to dance and tell jokes. I’ve played with a lot of these girls in the past with either high school or travel ball. We all know each other pretty well.”

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