Sophia Landeros launched an inside-the-park home run in the sixth inning Friday for Pacheco’s final run in a 14-4 six-inning mercy-rule win over host Lathrop in Western Athletic Conference softball action on Tiger Field at Big League Dreams.
Of the six innings, the Spartans (0-2 WAC, 1-2 overall) went down in order three times, but the three innings when a Lathrop runner reached base the Spartans scored at least one run.
“It is crucial for us to get people on base to move them around to score runs when we get the chance,” Spartans coach Stephanie Maestretti said. “We play a lot of good teams in our conference that won’t give us a lot of chances so when we get them we have to take them.”
One of Lathrop’s offensive bright spots was No. 9 batter Luz De Luna. She got two of the five Spartans hits, going 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.
“She (Luna) has been my big producer the last two games,” Maestretti said. “Having her down at the bottom of the lineup is good to clean up anything that is left as well as roll us over in the top of the lineup in a good spot.”
The Panthers of Los Banos got 12 runs through three innings on just three hits while Lathrop committed five errors, hit four batters and dished out three walks in those three frames.
“It’s been like that the last two games,” Maestretti said. “If we could take one thing away, be it errors, hit batters or walks, we would be much more in the game.
“Today, we weren’t playing on dirt, so we needed rosin for our pitcher’s hand to stop the ball from slipping when she pitched. There were times when she just couldn’t get a grip on the ball.”
When these two teams faced each other in 2022, Pacheco (2-0, 5-2) won 23-0 and that score could have been much worse. While Friday’s game was still decided by the mercy rule, Lathrop is a much more competitive team this season.
“This game was a lot different than last year’s,” Panthers coach Charles Pikas said. “Their pitching is a lot better than in the past and they throw the ball really well.
“We just had to get creative and we took advantage of every baserunner we had and found a way to make things happen on the base paths.”
Abi Pikas was 3 for 4 with three runs behind three infield singles for Pacheco. Landeros was 2 for 4 with two runs and that monster home run and Dez Arambula scored four times.
Jasmine Smith, Ariana Fuentes and Aubree Martinez and singled and scored a run for the Spartans.
Lathrop has next week off and resumes WAC play by hosting Beyer on Wednesday, March 29 at 4 p.m.