It was a long ride home for the girls of Samo varsity softball on Tuesday, May 22. After an approximately two hour journey to Dos Pueblos High School, the Samo girls lost their second round California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) game 1-0, bringing their season to a close.
“It was a really tough game, but it was close and I think we held our ground,” outfielder Jennifer Eyler said. “Obviously it’s disappointing to be eliminated second round, but we gave it our all and ultimately I think we played well.”
According to coach Debbie Skaggs, Dos Pueblos was the 2011 CIF champion, so the Samo girls anticipated a challenging game.
“We were really expecting to lose, but our coach didn’t let us think that at all and pushed us to believe that we could do it,” sophomore pitcher Francesca Golick said. “And so we came into the game thinking that we had a chance and we had the potential to beat them and as a result we came in really hyped and played a pretty good game.”
Additionally, Dos Pueblos’ pitcher is ranked as one of the top pitchers in California.
“When you get to that level it’s all about the pitching,” Skaggs said. “We hit the ball hard, we just hit it right at them.”
According to Golick, it was this lack of precision with hitting that lost the girls the game.
“At the end of the day, they didn’t beat us, we lost to ourselves because we couldn’t hit,” Golick said.
Although Samo did not score any runs, Skaggs said the girls played good defense and showed outstanding effort. According to Skaggs, at one point in the game, senior captain Kelly Ricard made it all the way to third base with only one out, but the Samo girls were not able to capitalize on this scoring opportunity.
“I think our pitcher (Sara Garcia) only gave up three hits so the fact that she’s only a sophomore is incredible,” Skaggs said.
The team only has one senior, and in general is very young. Many of the starters are underclassmen, so this experience only further prepared them for the rest of their Samo softball careers.
“All of the freshmen who are starting will have more games and more practice,” Golick said. “I just think we’re a really young team, so as we grow older I think we can become a very strong team and be as successful as other Samo teams in the past.”
According to Skaggs, individually, next years’ team has a lot of potential. Junior Arielle Casillas and Golick made the first team for All League, which consists of the Ocean League’s best players, and junior Marissa Padilla, freshman Carly Condon and freshman Annie Quine made the second team. Additionally, Garcia was named Ocean League MVP, and Ricard was named Most Outstanding Player.
“We have a lot of talent coming back,” Skaggs said. “We just have to work hard all season to get better.”
According to Skaggs, the fact that the majority of this year’s team will be returning next year will benefit the team.
“I think towards the end of the season we were really gelling as a unit, and the good thing is that we have that same unit coming back so the girls know what it takes to get further in playoffs,” Skaggs said.
Captain Kelly Ricard, the only senior on the team, also has high hopes for the team next year. She hopes that the girls will get down to business from the start.
“We definitely improved our game a lot and we were able to step up this year, but for next season the girls just need to start working hard from day one,” Ricard said. “They need keep to the grind every day and just try to get better and not be complacent.”
According to Skaggs, although it is always hard to end the season with a loss, this year was only the beginning for Samo softball.
“Its only uphill from here,” Golick said.