By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Cowboys’ softball (4-3) defeated the visiting Burbank Bulldogs (4-6) thanks to solid pitching and consistent batting on Wednesday.
Canyon struck first and struck hard with second baseman Danielle Rodriguez smacking a solo home run on a full count. Shortstop Emily Benavidez later added an RBI double to get the two-run lead. Burbank would never lead.
“I was just trying to relax. I swung at the good pitch that I saw. I didn’t think it was going over,” Rodriguez said while laughing
The Cowboys got their biggest spark in the second inning, scoring four runs. Canyon went through the order thanks to a gargantuan number of walks, including three batters struck by Burbank pitching. Sophomore Mia Reese got the first hit of the inning, prompting Burbank to pull starting pitcher Grace Workman after an inning of work with Canyon not even through the batting order.
Relief pitcher Maddison Kellogg entered for a wild inning. Kellogg walked two, then hit two batters before back-to-back RBI hits from Emily Benavidez and Cowboys’ starting pitcher Jessica Carr. The rally took the lead to 6-0.
Carr, a freshman, was solid in her home outing. The freshman got out of a jam with the bases loaded in the first, allowed a single hit in multiple innings as well as a hot streak on the mound later in the game. Carr pitched a complete game for Canyon with four strikeouts.
“I can’t stop smiling,” said Canyon head coach Todd Wensley. “At the Hart tournament and last week at Highland, [Carr has] pitched a lot of innings and she’s done great.”
However, the Bulldogs got all over the ace in the third and tied the game, mostly powered by a grand slam by junior Samantha Buckley.
Carr locked back in after giving up the huge play and caught fire, retiring seven straight Bulldogs into the sixth inning.
“I used to struggle with [staying calm under pressure],” said Carr. “But then I remembered, defense has got my back, they’re part of the team, too. It’s not all on [my] shoulders.”
Kellogg also snapped back to reality after giving up her runs. The freshman pitcher finished with eight strikeouts.
The Cowboys took their lead right back after Burbank tied the game. Carr got her second RBI, scoring the first run followed by a costly infield error scoring the eighth Canyon run.
The Bulldogs led off the seventh with a hit but Carr retired the next three, highlighted by Reese making a huge diving catch past the foul line for the second out.
Canyon softball has now won three straight and is heating up just before kicking off Foothill League action next week.
“From what I’ve seen in the first seven games, I’m very happy with the product they put out on the field,” said Wensley.
The Cowboys are waiting for another pitcher to finish her transfer sit-out period to lighten Carr’s load. Wensley’s daughter Gabriella Wensley will join the team on the mound later in the season.
Canyon is scheduled to host West Ranch Tuesday at 3:05 p.m.