Country music played at Aquinas High on Wednesday, April 14, before its softball game against Woodcrest Christian. But once the game started it was all heavy metal as the Falcons overwhelmed the Royals with their bats, 21-1.
The Falcons scored seven runs in the first inning, batted around in two innings, and their coach Chris Ybarra was giving away outs like sticks of gum to the Royals. On at least four occasions Aquinas handed Woodcrest Christian outs by purposely leaving the base and retreating to the dugout. One inning ended after a two-run single when Aquinas forfeited the final out and both teams ran off the field.
Aquinas, as of last weekend, was 10-0 overall and 3-0 in the Ambassador League. Through 10 games the Falcons had outscored opponents 149-12.
“The kids did a great job and we’re blessed to have a good group,” veteran Aquinas coach Chris Ybarra said. “Inside the lines, they’re all business. They’re proud and they work hard, the don’t take anything for granted, they get along well and they’re nice to be around.”
The Falcons also hit like Roberto Duran. As of mid-April, Aquinas was hitting .591 as a team, led by Alexa Duran, a transfer senior first baseman from Big Bear who is hitting .696 with 21 runs batted in and eight home runs.
Duran hit towering two-run home runs in both the first and second innings and added a two-run single later in the second. She went 3 for 3 on the day and drove in six runs.
“Her mom is an alum and she’s been a great addition to the team,” Ybarra said. “And as good a player as she is, she’s a better young lady.”
On Duran’s first home run, Woodcrest’s right fielder bounded over thefence and sprinted after the ball as if she was going to make a play on it.
“She flipped over that fence and it made me laugh a little,” Duran said. “[The pitcher] was coming in high and I took advantage.”
Aquinas senior pitcher Reina Castillo added an RBI double in the first inning and went 3 for 3 for the game with three RBI. Castillo was also nearly flawless in the circle, allowing one hit and no runs in three innings, while striking out eight and walking one.
“Woodcrest Christian and Ontario Christian are our rivals and we handled business, as usual,” Castillo said. “We weren’t intimidated, and we stayed calm and made contact.”
Senior Anissa Villalobos went 3 for 4 at the plate, knocked in six runs and caught Castillo with aplomb; senior Dannika Merlos went 2 for 4; sophomore Jaeya Butler hit a home run; junior Elleana Navarro went 3 for 3 with one RBI; freshman Ava Martinez went 2 for 3 with one RBI; and sophomore Malaya Bliss hit a single and scored three runs.
It all starts with Castillo who yielded a single to Alyssa Smith to start the game but was otherwise dominant.
“She’s a four-year starter who pitched a lot when she was a freshman,” Ybarra said. “She wants to prove she’s one of the most dominant pitchers in the league, if not the most dominant. She has a lot of pride in the circle, and Anissa has been calling her games for four years and they have a special bond.”