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Alameda High Beats Encinal 6-1 in Annual Softball ‘Big Game’

It was a sun-drenched afternoon at Alameda High School on Tuesday, April 2, as an enthusiastic crowd of about 100 watched Alameda High’s Hornets softball team use good hitting, pitching, and defense against the visiting Encinal Jets to take the annual meeting of the cross-town rivals, 6-1.

Alameda Post - Whorley pitches a ball to a batter
Alameda High’s Jasmine Whorley pitches to an Encinal player in the first inning. Photo Keith Gleason.

At various times throughout the game, the Jets had some scoring opportunities, but failed to get the key hits they needed with runners in scoring position. Four errors also hurt the Jets, as the Hornets capitalized on them and made none of their own.

The Jets’ leadoff hitter, Sherrielyn Ferrer, slapped a single down the third baseline to start the game. After Kiely Wong struck out, Ferrer advanced to second on a passed ball before Jazzy Alcantar struck out. With two outs, Lola Whalen hit a ball to deep right field that Hornet Ava Pardo made a diving catch on to end the inning.

In the bottom of the first, Alameda’s leadoff hitter Aaliyah Soderlund doubled down the third baseline. She quickly advanced to second on a bunt by Miley Gradney, thanks to Encinal pitcher Celeste Hurtubise’s throwing error to first, and Soderlund scored while Gradney was out at second trying to advance. Mia Wong then doubled to left and, in a battle of the pitchers, Hornets pitcher Jasmine Whorley hit a grounder back to Hurtubise who threw her out at first.

In the top of the second, Whorley retired the Jets on three straight pop-ups. The Hornets then scored three runs in the bottom of the frame. Julia Lambert doubled to left and scored on a bunt by Desiree Shoblo up the first base line and a throwing error.  Abbye Haines singled, which allowed Shoblo to score. Leaira Robinson followed with an infield single and Soderlund singled home Robinson. Hurtubise struck out Gradney while Katy Lambert lined out to shortstop Kiely Wong, and Mia Wong grounded out to short, to end the inning. The score was 4-0, Hornets.

In the top of the third, after the Jets’ Riley Chadwick popped out to Hornets’ shortstop Mia Wong, Whorley struck out Amy Screechfield and Ferrer. The Hornets went quietly in the bottom of the inning as Hurtubise got Whorley to hit a soft liner back to her while Shoblo popped out to second and Haines flied out to center after Julia Lambert had singled to center and advanced on an error by Ferrer.

In the fourth, Jets’ Kiely Wong grounded to third base and Alcantar struck out. Whalen then hit a line drive off Gradney’s glove that went down the third base line, and Whalen turned it into a double as she slid into second to beat the throw. Hurtubise walked and Carmen Tran lined out to left for the third out.

Alameda Post - a large crowd watches a softball game
Excited onlookers watching the rivalry game of the year. Photo Keith Gleason.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Hornets scored two more runs to make it 6-0 as Robinson, Soderlund, and Gradney all singled to open the inning to score one run, and Mia Wong later singled to center to bring home another. Jets’ Alcantar recorded the final two outs at second base as Julia Lambert lined out to her and Shoblo popped out to her.

In the fifth, the Jets had a great opportunity to score when they loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Emiko Takemoto and Chadwick, while Screechfield walked. Ferrer grounded to Gradney at third who threw home for the force out. Kiely Wong then hit a fly ball to medium center field, but Katy Lambert caught it and threw a bullet to catcher Soderlund, who tagged out a sliding Takemoto at the plate for a double play to end the inning. It was the most dramatic moment of the game, shutting the door on what could’ve been a big Jets rally. Hurtubise sent the Hornets down in order in a quiet bottom of the frame.

In the sixth inning, the Jets scored their only run when Alcantar popped out to short, Whalen walked, and Hurtubise doubled to center field, scoring Whalen to make it a 6-1 game. Tran then flied out to left and Takemoto flied out to center. With one out in the bottom of the frame, Hornet Katy Lambert hit a smash to Hurtubise, who knocked it down and threw Lambert out at first. Hurtubise hit the next batter and then got opposing pitcher, Whorley, to fly out to center to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, the Jets had their last chance to tie the game, but they couldn’t get the timely hit they needed to get the runners home. Whorley struck out Tamyrah Jamison and got Cheyenne Caina to fly out to left for the first two outs. Ferrer then singled to left and Kiely Wong hit a fly ball single to left. The Jets had runners at first and second with two outs, but Whorley got Alcantar to fly out to right field to end the game.

After the game, Jets’ coach Abel Alcantar said the Jets made too many errors. “They played well and we didn’t,” he said. “We were tight. We didn’t have many hits. But their pitcher pitched well.”

Alameda coach Meida Tautalatasi said the Hornets had energy and confidence. “We capitalized on Encinal’s errors.” she said. “Our center fielder Katy Lambert has a cannon of an arm and showed it in the fifth inning. Our left fielder Lili made a diving catch, too. We have a very young team. Great vibe. We’re one big family.”

In the battle of the pitchers—both seniors who pitched the entire game—Jasmine Whorley gave up just one run, walked three, and struck out six while Celeste Hurtubise gave up five runs and had one strikeout and no walks.

The Hornets had 14 hits to the Jets’ seven. The Hornets’ attack was led by Soderlund with three hits, Julia Lambert, Gradney, Robinson, and Mia Wong had two hits each, while Whorley, Haines, and Shoblo had one hit. For the Jets, Ferrer led the offense with two hits while Kiely Wong, Hurtubise, Whalen, Takemoto, and Chadwick each had a hit.

Although there’s no ax for the Hornets to keep for 2024, they have the bragging rights until next year when the Jets will have to try and exact their revenge in the annual East vs. West Alameda rivalry.

Next games

Encinal (13-3) beat Piedmont 13-2 at home on Wednesday, April 3.  Alameda (9-1) plays next in a special tournament this weekend, April 6–7, in Tracy, otherwise the next contests for both teams will not be held until April 17.

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