Canyon Cowboys softball took home its first Foothill League win of the year after a beatdown of the hosting Golden Valley Grizzlies on Thursday.
Canyon exploded after being retired in order for the opening three innings and won the game, 13-2, in six innings.
Sophomore Jessica Carr led the Cowboys from the circle, allowing just three hits with 17 strikeouts. Carr also led the way at the plate and was one of three Cowboys with two-hit days.
“I felt really good because I warmed up really well,” Carr said. “Our team had a really good talk before and we put in a lot of effort. So especially after spring break, we knew we had to get back into the rhythm and we worked hard in practice. Now we’re performing.”
The Grizzlies held the Cowboys scoreless for the first trip through the order, as pitcher Italia Ballestrasse got the better of Canyon through three innings.
The bats sparked in the fourth inning, where three runs came in to score. However, Canyon erupted in the fifth, bringing in six runs. Senior Phoenix Pair and first baseman Bella Jimenez each hit one of three RBI doubles in the inning, as both finished with a pair of hits at the plate.
“We’ve really been struggling,” Pair said. “So, just coming together and pushing through all the way to the end. I’m really proud of us today. We kept the energy all the way through. And once we started it off in that third, everyone kept going and I’m really proud of us for that.”
Cowboys senior Emily Benavidez registered her only hit of the game in the fifth inning, with a two-run homer to go up 8-0.
The Grizzlies stayed ready to end the inning and turned two in a double play to escape, down 9-0.
Golden Valley never said die and got the bats going in the sixth inning. Ballestrasse brought in one run off an RBI triple while Layla Moreno took a hit by pitch with the bases loaded to score one more.
It hasn’t been the season Canyon head coach Todd Wensley imagined, but Thursday’s win brought the Cowboys up to fifth place in league with the bulk of Foothill contests ahead.
“At this point, we needed the victory today,” Wensley said. “We’ll take it one game at a time but I’m very happy with the girls. The way they hit the ball, even though we didn’t score any runs for the first few innings, and we were still hitting the ball hard.”
Both teams never ceased their lively energy. Canyon cheered just as loud when the team was tied at 0-0, as when it was up by 13. The Grizzlies matched and, even down by double-digit runs, remained fired up in the sixth inning.
“What stands out about us is our energy,” Pair said. “You walk up and you’re laughing immediately. If you’re having a bad day and you don’t want to play today, it’s immediately uplifted. Our biggest thing is music and that’s what gets us going.”
The team knows they can score multiple runs on any given day. Canyon will aim for some consistency as the team heads toward the final stretch of the season.
“If we can just get that energy strong from the get-go and stay on top, we have a full lineup of just hitters,” Pair said. “We just have to make sure we pick those right pitches and we can definitely carry this on.”
The two teams will return to action on Monday in round two with one another at Canyon at 3:15 p.m.
“Our team’s goal is to definitely just win these next few league games,” Pair said. “We want to beat Valencia, Saugus, Hart and Castaic. So, I think we’re just looking to win and to have a great last season.”