Two home runs from Malia Plourde powered Granada Hills softball to victory on Thursday as the Highlanders spoiled the Valencia Vikings’ opening day.
Plourde was one of five Highlanders with multi-hit games as Granada went on to win 11-4.
Valencia (0-1) was forced to play most of the game without starting pitcher Carly Kearns. The sophomore ace took two line drives to the body in the second inning and exited the game early. Vikings junior Maggie Mrowca has plenty of varsity experience and stepped in to finish the game in the circle.
Granada (2-2) took the lead in the first inning and never let go. The Vikings snuck back in the game in the bottom of the third. Valencia first baseman Hope Seper battled in a near-dozen-pitch at-bat with Highlander ace Addison Moorman. Seper won the bout and smacked an RBI double into the outfield.
Seper led the Vikings, going 3-for-4 at the plate.
Plourde led off the following inning with a solo home run to spark a six-run inning.
Valencia found some runs in the fifth inning, starting off with an inside-the-park home run by center fielder Abby Garcia. The leadoff hitter blasted a triple to left field but an error on the recovery led to Garcia sprinting home.
Vikings shortstop Jeanelle Bacat hit a ground-rule double out of Valhalla Field and suddenly Valencia was ready to sneak back into the game. With two on and two out, freshman Blair Rune hit a routine ball up the middle, but Moorman made a nice play for the lineout.
Moorman was on her A-game for the Highlanders. The sophomore finished the day with five strikeouts and allowed just six hits.
Thursday’s contest was the first game in Valencia softball history without Donna Lee in the dugout. First-year head coach Sean Pollard is optimistic that his group can continue to meet the standards in place for Vikings softball as his team never gave up and battled through all seven innings.
“The injury early on to our pitcher kind of shook everyone a little bit,” Pollard said. “Then we had to switch gears a little bit with the pitching staff. So, it took us a little while to get going, but I thought they battled back and we were in it. They weren’t just fooling and folding. They were really trying to battle back.”
It was game one of a long season, so no one on the Vikings is worried. Pollard believes the team will be competitive in every game this year, thanks in part to catcher Addison Snyder.
“I think our competitiveness will come through,” Pollard said. “We have the work ethic to get to that point. Addy is a big reason for that. She kind of has a little Mamba mentality and she wants to push us to win.”
Snyder is a Cal State Fullerton commit but wants to add another Foothill League title to her collection before joining the Titans next spring.
Granada will look to bump their win streak up to three games over the weekend when the Highlanders head into tournament play.
The Vikings will now have to play for the first win of the year on the road. The next opportunity for the mark is Tuesday, when Valencia heads to Vasquez at 3:15 p.m. The Vikings will be busy over the next two weeks but won’t return home until the team hosts Rio Mesa at 3:30 p.m. on March 1.