By Ray Hamill — It’s been a long time coming, but the Corsairs will finally play their home opener in softball on Thursday — weather permitting.
For the past two months, the College of the Redwoods women have traveled to play 20 games, but they return home to the North Coast for 10 of their final 14 games.
They also appear to be legitimate conference contenders in a Golden Valley Conference that looks wide open this season.
CR head coach Maggie White describes this year’s roster as one of the athletic she has ever had, and defensively the Corsairs have been impressive.
The problems, conversely, have come at the plate, where the Corsairs have struggled to get the clutch hit.
They have, however, been in all six of their conference games, with five of them decided by a single run, including two weekend losses at conference leaders Feather River (6-0), who by comparison have won five of their six games by a single run.
“We’ve been playing everybody so close,” White said. “We’re just not getting over the hump. We’ve got to learn how to finish.
“We’re playing hard, we’re putting a lot of effort in, our pitching staff has done great, and our defense is really good. But offensively we’re not getting it done, and that’s what we need to improve.
“But literally, we’re so close. Just one or two hits from being 5-1.”
None of the conference teams have an overall winning record, suggesting the championship is up for grabs, with just two wins separating second from fifth in the standings.
Having most of their remaining games at home will certainly help Redwoods.
“We’re excited to be at home,” White said. “And I’m excited to be at home, and have the last at-bats.”
Solid pitching, great defense
Pitchers Ashley Stockwell and Lindsey Scott have each done a solid job for the Corsairs, with the help of some outstanding defense, particularly in the infield.
Scott, a Eureka grad, has been a pleasant surprise.
“She’s been great,” White said of the freshman, who is 5-5 with an ERA of 5.42. “She didn’t get a lot of pitching time at Eureka last year, but she’s come on. She needed some innings and she’s done a really good job for us.”
Stockwell is 1-6 with an ERA of 6.47, but has kept her team in many games, while not getting a lot of run support.
Freshman Adriana Chavez, meanwhile, is enjoying a stellar season with the team.
The Vacaville native is batting a team-high .387 with five doubles and eight RBIs, and has been one of the team’s top defensive players at second base.
Likewise with shortstop Amy Reyes and third baseman Juliana Ortega-Miranda.
“Our infield has made some pretty nice plays,” the head coach said.”They’ve been pretty impressive.”
Ortega-Miranda and catcher Pheobe Marsh are each batting .317, with Ortega-Miranda accounting for a team-high 13 RBIs.
Reyes is hitting .292 with 11 RBIs.
Thursday’s doubleheader with Lassen (0-6, 6-16), which was originally scheduled for Friday, is tentatively set for noon, although that could change depending on the weather.
The CR women are also scheduled to host Butte (3-3, 7-15) on Saturday, although that remains up in the air for now.
“They are so pumped to play at home,” White said of her players. “I think they’re more excited about it than I am.”