Del Grande leads the way as Crusaders edge improved Cubs


File photo – Senior Ally Del Grande led the way for the St. Bernard’s Crusaders in a softball doubleheader against South Fork on Friday.

The Crusaders got their Little 4 campaign off to a winning start in softball on Friday, but they had to fight for it.

In a doubleheader that was pushed up a day and moved from Miranda to Eureka, the St. Bernard’s girls swept the two games, winning 4-3 and 8-2.

Calissa Stokesberry, who has stepped up her game as a senior, came up big once again in the opener, driving home the winning run on a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh.

Ally Del Grande, who had a stellar day pitching, also made a difference at the plate with three hits over the two games, including two doubles.

In the pitcher’s circle, Del Grande gave up just 11 hits over the two complete games, while striking out eight.

“Ally pitched outstanding all day,” St. Bernard’s head coach Alan Borges said of the senior, who showed tremendous control with no walks over the two games.

Stokesberry also had three hits over the two games, including going 2-for-3 in the opener with two RBIs, and adding another RBI in the nightcap.

Freshman Emma Wilson is having an immediate impact with the team and stepped up again on Friday, with three hits and four runs for the day, including two RBIs in the opener.

Wilson also scored the winning run on Stokesberry’s walk-off single.

Mackenzie Finck also had three hits and two RBIs on the day for St. Bernard’s, which improved to 2-0 in the Little 4 and 3-5 overall.

“We bunted really well and we ran the bases extremely well,” Borges said. “I’m pretty proud of the kids. They played pretty well.”

Rodrigues added a hit in each game for the Crusaders, and drove home two runs in the second game, while Alyssa Liles and Lindsey Davila-Escareno rounded out a 16-hit day for the home team.

“They’re getting a little more confident in themselves and their teammates,” Borges said of his mostly young roster. “They’re just getting a little better every day.”

Todd steps up for South Fork

Joslin Todd pitched well for the Cubs, who matched the Crusaders stride for stride except for one inning.

The visitors gave up seven runs in the first inning of the second game, before Todd came in to relieve starter Jade Johns and held the SB bats to just one run over the next six innings.

“South Fork is a much better team this year,” Borges said. “They’ve got a pitcher now and they’ve got a lot of seniors.”

Todd missed most of last season through injury before returning late and helping the Cubs win a North Coast Section championship.

The sophomore pitcher has impressed again this spring, giving up four hits in the opener, while walking four and striking out 10.

She followed that with six more strikeouts in game two, while allowing four hits.

Kylie Savio had a hit in each game for the Cubs and an RBI in the opener, while Jasmine Todd had a big game at the plate in game one, finishing 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Joslin Todd was also 1-for-2 with an RBI in the second game.

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