It was senior day at Stockdale on Thursday and right on cue a freshman stole the show — or at least part of it.
Mariana Hernandez limited Bakersfield High to a run on four hits in six innings and knocked in two with a single as part of an 8-run first inning and the Mustangs cruised to a 9-1 victory.
Hernandez was called into duty after Stockdale senior starting pitcher Emily Bagdanoff injured her right shoulder driving back to third base on a pick-off attempt in the bottom of the first.
She wasted little time making an impact, replacing Bagdanoff in the lineup and driving a 2-1 offering into right center field to plate two in an explosive first inning by the Mustangs (5-0).
“This is her second game she’s come in for us and she’s done a great job,” Stockdale coach Amanda Hockett said. “She came in and threw an extra-inning game against Frontier last week. And I expect her and my other pitcher Mariah (Ishii) to just do their jobs. Throw us ground ball outs and flyball outs and keep us in the game.”
Stockdale added another run on an RBI single by Camille Enriquez in the second to make it 9-0, but that was all the Mustangs could muster the rest of the game, and Hockett was not pleased. She and her assistants let the team hear about it with a longer-than-usual post-game talk in center field.
“I’m definitely not happy with the way we performed today,” said Hockett, who subbed in a few players after the second inning with a 9-0 lead. “And I don’t think it would matter who we put on the field. Anybody that I put out there on the field should be making the plays and doing their job. That’s what we expect and that’s why they’re on this team, to perform. We let up and we weren’t performing to the best of our abilities. We just didn’t have some heart today.”
The Mustangs committed four errors, including consecutive miscues in the fourth, and managed just five hits in the final four innings.
“After the first inning I think like we just let up,” Hockett said. “We felt like we had it in the bag and I felt like my team just kind of cruised through and didn’t have their foot on the throttle to keep fighting for the game.”
Driller freshman Dalene Gonzales, who opened the game at third base, may have had something to do with that. She was called on in relief of freshman starter Gabby Gonzales — no relation — with the bases loaded, one out and already trailing 6-0.
After giving up Hernandez’s run-scoring single, she retired the next two and then allowed just one run, scattering five hits the rest of the way. She also hit two batters, but struck out two.
“It means a whole lot to our team,” said first-year BHS coach Kimmie Sabedra, whose team dropped to 0-6 on the season. “We had that first inning where Stockdale had those nice hits, but man, I’m so proud of my girls. They came back and continued to hold them. And that’s what I told them. Just keep having those tough innings, take one out at a time and let’s get out of the inning, and just keep holding them.”
Trailing 9-0 in the seventh, Bakersfield put together a rally to break up the shutout. Serina Morales and Abi Flores each reached on one-out singles and Morales scored on a chopper up the middle by Kiki Banner.
“Our bats came alive a little bit towards the end,” Sabedra said. “We got a run across and that’s awesome, but those last (four) innings with no runs against us is a big deal for us.”
Up until the final inning, Hernandez had been solid and took a combined no-hitter into the fifth until Flores looped a single down the right field line to open the fifth. Hernandez finished with seven strikeouts and responded after giving up the run by striking out the last two batters to end the game.
Stockdale sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, with the first six reaching and coming around to score. Lindsey Hardin opened the game with a base hit and eventually scored on a fielding error. After Jillian Sanchez walked to load the bases, Kayelin Lebo singled two runs home. Sanchez scored on a wild pitch and Hannah Ishii followed with an RBI single to make it 5-0, with still no outs.
After Sydney Allen flew out to left field, Maleena Cor-Dova walked, Enriquez was hit by a pitch and Hardin lined an RBI single to left field to set up Hernandez’s timely hit.
The two teams meet again for the finale of their three-game series at 3:30 p.m Tuesday at Bakersfield's diamond near the corner of 2nd and P streets.