Bats are alive for Oak Ridge

By: Matt Long Telegraph Sports Editor
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Oak Ridge High’s varsity softball team opens this week with a 3-7 record, but the losing record isn’t because they’re not scoring runs. The Lady Trojans have scored 54 runs, or an average of a little more than five runs a game, but they’ve allowed 71. With four-year ace Kasey Stanchek now at the University of Washington, the Lady Trojans are young with sophomore Alyssa Burns and juniors Christina Arace and Nicole Martin toeing the rubber. “We’re hitting the ball really well, including Friday against Sheldon when we scored four runs off one of the top pitchers in the area,” Oak Ridge coach Sam Kloczko said. “Lauren Bertoy has three home runs already and gives us exactly what we want out of the number three hitter. Ana Campos got a clutch home run last week against El Camino and Lindsey Zito, Jade Matsumoto, Jackie Schmaeling and Renee Bardini are doing well. Where we need to improve is our pitching and defense. Our pitchers need to do a better job of hitting their spots and we need to tighten up our defense. We’ve got a ways to go.” Oak Ridge used the long ball and some clutch defense to pick up an 8-5 non-league win over El Camino on March 20. The Lady Trojans led 5-0 after five innings, but El Camino scored four runs in the sixth and added the tying run in the seventh, as the Lady Trojans had their backs to the wall. With one out and the bases loaded, Burns worked a double play to get out of the bottom of the seventh inning. In the eighth, Caitlyn Olan reached on an error before Campos hit Oak Ridge’s third homer of the day to put her team up for good, 7-5. Oak Ridge wasn’t done, though, as Michelle Bardini singled, stole second and scored on her sister Renee’s single, giving the Trojans an 8-5 lead that they would hold on to for the win. Oak Ridge pounded the ball throughout the game, finishing with 13 hits, including two apiece from Schmaeling, Bertoy, Campos, Olan and the two Bardini sisters. Bertoy finished with a pair of doubles, while Olan and Schmaeling also hit home runs. Arace started the game on the rubber for the Lady Trojans, pitching well until the sixth inning before being replaced by Burns. “It felt good to win that game,” Kloczko said. “I think the girls finally realized that they can fight back. They showed their heart and battled. They proved to themselves that good things can happen if they keep working hard. Our motto is to fight until the last out of the game and that’s what we did.” Oak Ridge lost to Sheldon on Friday, 12-4, but Kloczko was thrilled to have scored four runs in the loss. Bertoy and Olan each had a pair of hits, while Bertoy, Zito and Matsumoto drove in runs. After facing Vista del Lago Monday and Ponderosa on Tuesday, the Lady Trojans play host to Pleasant Grove at 4 p.m. on Friday.