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SOFTBALL: Lathrop beats Johansen in 5
Freshman pitcher fans 7, gets early offensive support
Bulletin sports 2020-21
Lathrop's Ariana Fuentes threw the first three innings for the Spartans, striking out seven and allowing no earned runs. - photo by Dave Campbell

Bulletin sports 2020-21
Lylliana Avila laces a single for host Lathrop. - photo by Dave Campbell
Ariana Fuentes threw three stellar innings for Lathrop on Wednesday, allowing no earned runs and thanks to some big Spartans bats she left the game in the fourth with a 10-run lead on the way to a 15-5 five-inning win over visiting Johansen in Western Athletic Conference action. 

Fuentes struck out seven and allowed just one hit, allowing one unearned run. 

“Getting those strikeouts felt pretty good,” Fuentes said. “It was quite a bit better from my last start.”

Lathrop coach Stephanie Maestretti is bringing her young prospect along slowly.

“She is young,” Maestretti said of Fuentes. “She is a freshman and she is trying to work out some things with her mechanics so it has been nice to have innings and games like these where we can bring her in and let her work and not worry about getting into too much trouble. 

“We have been able to get on top really quickly and support her.”

Teaghen Sharifnejad led a nine-hit barrage for the Spartans (4-1 WAC, 4-2 overall), going 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles, three RBI and a run. 

“Working hard through practice really helps,” Sharifnejad said. “Watching the ball all the way in and then applying all the advice the coaches give you usually works out.”

Ishmeet Uppal has been moved up in the order to leadoff for Lathrop, and she did her job reaching base in all five at-bats – three walks, a fielder’s choice and she was hit by a pitch.

“We have been trying to find the right fit for our leadoff batter,” Maestretti said. “And when Ishmeet was hitting two, three or four and walking, that did not do us a lot of good. But at leadoff, it does us good when she gets on and then eventually scores.”

The Spartans racked up 11 runs in the first three innings and sent at least eight batters to the plate in each of those first three innings, batting around twice. Maddie Brown was 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI for Lathrop. Lylliana Avila went 2 for 3 with two runs and Elizabeth Rodriguez ended the game in the fifth inning via the mercy rule with a two-RBI double. Fuentes and Alena Fuentes scored two runs each.

“It’s nice to have more hits than walks,” Maestretti said. “We have had the opposite happen a lot lately so it was huge today with Teaghen (Sharifnejad) and Maddy (Brown) getting those timely hits for us with runners on.

“It was amazing to finally have that breakthrough. We have been talking about it for so long but it hasn’t happened until now.”

The Vikings drop to 0-6. 

Bulletin sports 2020-21
Lathrop's Ariana Fuentes makes a running catch in center field. - photo by Dave Campbell