In an impressive fashion, the state's 15th ranked community college softball team, the Reedley College Tigers, rolled to a doubleheader sweep over Hartnell College of Salinas on Saturday afternoon.
But the 2019 season didn't really start as planned for head coach Kathy Kuball's Tigers. On the very first pitch of the game, Tiger starting pitcher Emily Grimbleby hit Hartnell leadoff hitter on Celeste Canchola. Grimbleby eventually walked two batters to load the bases. But the sophomore worked out of the jam and finished with a five-inning no-hitter in an 8-0 win.
In the second game, Hunter Young gave up a run in the top of the first and finished with a three-hitter in Reedley's 11-1.
Both contests were shortened due to the mercy rule and both Tiger pitchers threw 85 pitches.
It didn't take long for Reedley to get on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Bobbie Falcon walked on five pitches, stole her first of three bases in the game, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a double to left off the bat of Karly Fien.
Three straight hits with two out highlighted a four-run second inning. Aunika Castellanos and freshman Bri Stephens each had three hits to lead a 13-hit attack. Castellanos was robbed of a triple in the fourth as her eventual single scored Young with the eighth run.
Grimbeby, who was fourth in the state in strikeouts last year, finished with 7 K's while walking five and hitting a batter.
In the second game, Reedley finished with nine hits and took advantage of five Panther errors. Samantha Lizaola joined Stephens and Young with two hits and two RBI while Fien also had two hits. Falcon added two more stolen bases to finish with five on the day.
On the mound, Young walked two and struck out six.
Reedley returns to action on Thursday, Jan. 31 with a 2pm doubleheader in Gilroy against Gavilan College before returning home for a noon twinbill with Cuesta on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
By Will Goldbeck