After giving up a solo home run in the second inning to visiting Escalon on Wednesday, East Union’s Hayley Leonard clamped down in the circle, retiring 14 of the last 16 batters she faced to lead the Lancers to an 8-1 non-league win at Northgate Softball Complex.
“She struggled in our last game,” East Union coach Brian Goulart said. “We told her to just go out and be who she was. We gave up 18 runs on Friday and then to come out and hold Escalon, who is supposed to be phenomenal, to one run is a coach’s dream.”
Leonard tallied five strikeouts and allowed just two hits.
“My goal is to get the ground balls so my team can get the outs,” Leonard said. “I’m not looking for the strikeouts.”
Izabella Owen did her job hitting leadoff for the Lancers, reaching base four times and going 3 for 3 with a walk, two runs and a ground-rule double.
“She makes every play,” Goulart said of Owen. “She is our spiritual leader and is obviously the sparkplug in the top of our lineup and she hits all kinds of pitching. We are fortunate to have her, for sure.
“We want her to lead our youngsters and teach them how to play the game like she does.”
The Lancers (1-1) started three freshmen on the bases — Allie Parker (triple, two RBI) at third, Savina Molina at second and Bella Anchundo at first. The three combined on a 5-4-3 game-ending double play.
“We had a freshman to freshman to freshman double play to end the game,” Goulart said. “Owen is the only senior in the infield.”
Owen’s three hits were part of an eight-hit attack that included Alli Tajii (2 for 4, four RBI, run),
Mackenzie Salgado (two RBI, run) and Danielle Ramos (RBI, run).
“We faced two really good pitchers today,” Owen said. “We knew were going to have a tough time hitting them but right off the bat we adjusted.
“After my first at-bat when I saw a lot of rise balls I told the team to get in the back of the box and see the flight.”
The Cougars fall to 1-1.