By Justin Vigil-Zuniga
Signal Sports Writer
Hart softball (11-4, 4-1) pummeled Canyon (6-6, 2-3) behind three homers from junior Kate Penberthy.
Penberthy finished 3-4, with 8 RBI and now has eight home runs on the season.
The Indian offense showed no signs of struggle and put up runs from the get-go.
Senior Kameryn Smudde drove in the first two runs of the game with an RBI single.
Hart got hits up and down their order, giving Canyon nothing easy to escape in the early innings.
Penberthy launched her first dinger in the second, bringing in three runs.
Canyon head coach Todd Wensley pulled his ace Jessica Carr after the freshman got in a two-on, one-out jam in the third. Wensley put in his daughter Gabbie Wensley to give Hart some new looks with the top of the order due up.
However, the Indian bats were too hot and Gabbie couldn’t cool them off, giving up four consecutive hits to start her day on the mound. Third in those hits was a two-run bomb from Penberthy to officially put the mercy rule in play with a 10-run lead.
The Cowboys managed to immediately answer back behind a Danielle Rodriguez solo home run. Canyon rallied behind Rodriguez and managed to score their final run of the game on a successful double steal.
Rodriguez finished 3-3 and was a triple away from the cycle if the game went on.
“If anyone is exceeding expectations, she is,” said Todd Wensley. “She’s driving the ball and I’m very happy with what she’s doing.”
Hart starting pitcher Allison Howell threw well over four innings. The senior struck out one and forced plenty of timely outs for the Indians.
Hart refused to stop scoring and pulled enough away in the fourth to end the game early.
Indian second baseman Alexis Lopez knocked in her second RBI of the game with two outs to go up 12-3.
“We have some deep hitting in the top of our order,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo. “What gets it really going for the team is when the other half of the order gets on base. In the last few games, our seven, eight and nine kids have been getting on base.”
Lopez batted 2-3 with 2 RBI.
Penberthy launched her third of the day, bringing in Lopez and leadoff hitter Tenley Sweet to hike the lead up to 12 runs.
“I was getting very similar pitches for the first two [home runs],” said Penberthy. “I was excited to make a better adjustment on my first at bat.”
The Cowboys looked like they were about to spark another big run as leadoff hitter Phoenix Pair was due up with two on and two outs. The junior is a machine at getting on base but just couldn’t get it done against Hart, finishing 0-3.
Gabbie Wensley managed to finally blank Hart in the top of the fifth for the first time of the day but Canyon would now need four runs to stay alive in the game.
The Cowboys managed to get two on with no outs for shortstop Emily Benavidez. The shortstop launched a deep shot to center and it looked like Canyon was about to sneak back into the game. However, Sweet made an unbelievable snag in center field and managed to pick off a Cowboys’ base runner, capping off the 8-4 double play.
The amazing play ended any momentum and handed Canyon their third Foothill League loss this year.
“We just have to continue to work on [hitting],” said Todd Wensley. “We do a lot of hitting drills, we use the cage. It’ll come together.”
Hart has now won three straight and will head to the Woodbridge tournament in Orange County for the weekend. The Cowboys will have another tough home matchup in Saugus on Tuesday at 3 p.m.