ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds and Paso Robles Bearcats softball teams opened league play against each other on Tuesday evening at Doser Field after the game was moved from Paso Robles due to the field being unplayable from the recent weather. The abrupt change of venue did not affect the fans from either team who still filled the small bleachers and divided in half at home plate like boys and girls at a junior high dance.
“Well shoot that just makes my day better, honestly,” starting pitcher for the Greyhounds Bailey Doherty said about the switch from Paso Robles to Atascadero. “Being here, having parents here and having the full support of our school, even baseball came and watched for a little bit and, man, that just makes everything more fun and energetic.”
It was a tightly contested pressure-packed game that came down to the last out, as games between Atascadero and Paso Robles always seemingly do. It was a defensive, pitching battle as only five hits were scattered around the yard on the two pitchers Jaiden Rolsten and Doherty.
The difference in the 1-0 game was the Hounds’ lone extra-base hit. Hounds senior leader Claire Lohayza turned on a pitch and sent it into right field, skipping all the way to the fence, scoring Gabrielle Hinzo from first for the only RBI of the evening.
“I was up there and I had to make an adjustment,”
It was in the bottom of the third inning when the Hounds took control and it was one of Ralston’s four walks that put the speedy Hinzo on base. The freshman pitcher responded with a strikeout in the next at-bat and got out of the inning on a ground out after issuing an intentional walk to Doherty.
Ralston finished the evening giving up two hits, walking four and striking out eight.
The Bearcats had their best chance to tie the game up in the top of the fifth inning that began with a defensive error from the Hounds. Junior Karli Whisenhunt hit a hard ball down the third base line and Shelby Moody’s throw sailed over first baseman Katie Perry’s glove. Whisenhunt advanced to second on the throw.
Senior captain Lya Abel stepped into the box next and put down a perfect sacrifice bunt moving Whisenhunt to third with only one out in the inning putting Paso Robles in perfect position to tie the game up with their two other captains, Kirra Vargas and Brooke Milder, due up next.
As no stranger to pressure-packed moments, Doherty went back to work on the rubber striking out Vargas and getting Milder to hit a rocket right at shortstop Bailee Crawford and leading the Hounds to a 1-0 victory and a 1-0 record in the Mountain League.
Doherty finished the game giving up three hits and striking out 10. It was the Hounds’ first game in more than 10 days after their three-day tournament in Bakersfield was canceled over the weekend due to rain.
“It feels super good honestly,” Doherty said. “All the girls have been waiting for it. Instead of the tournament we just went to my beach house and had a team party and so we were just waiting and talking about it all the time like when are we going to be able to play? When is the rain going to stop? And we came out today and proved we were ready to play.”
Both teams will be back in action on Thursday, the Hounds will play their second league game when they head to Arroyo Grande while the Bearcats will host Sanger and San Luis Obispo on Thursday and Friday.