The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The College of San Mateo softball team has begun the 2013 season playing like they have somewhere better to be.
Of the Bulldogs’ seven victories so far this season, five have ended before the scheduled seven innings of play.
Yes, thus far, short and sweet is the name of their games — Tuesday’s 8-0, six-inning win over Solano College followed the same theme.
“Hopefully, we’re playing with a purpose,” said CSM coach Nicole Borg. “We have a lot of to give and we have to execute on the things we’ve been executing on. Get hits when we need hits. Pitch the way we’ve been pitching. It’s expected. We have good players. It’s just a matter of, we have to sustain this level of play throughout the entire season.”
Right now, it’s a level of play that means streamrolling past opponents. The Bulldogs have outscored the competition 55-6 in seven games and on Tuesday they showed exactly how they’ve gone about doing that right out of the chute.
After Solano threatened in the top of the first, CSM got to work right away.
Selina Rodriguez led off with a single up the middle and moved to third after Kaylin Stewart doubled. Jamie Navarro cashed in the first run with a squeeze bunt and Michele Pilster followed that a single to right field that made it 2-0. Jenn Davidson got the big hit of the frame when she laced a double off the right field wall, missing a home run by a couple of feet, but driving in a pair in the process to make it 4-0.
“I think early in the season you have to apply pressure at any point in the game no matter who is up,” Borg said. “And putting the ball in play is pressure. So, you have to make a defense that’s coming out in their first game throw the ball around and again, in the first inning, we did that. We have to be able to do all things no matter where they hit in the lineup. Everybody is going to do everything.”
By Pilster’s lofty standards in the circle, the right-hander had her moments of inconsistency with three walks in the game. But No. 28 struck out nine and surrendered only one hit to Solano to pick up her fifth win of the year. CSM was never really in any sort of danger.
Actually, considering CSM’s torrid start to the game and the constant pressure they put on Solano’s defense, it’s a bit surprising Tuesday’s game wasn’t over sooner.
Solano’s defense put up goose eggs in innings two through four before CSM picked it up again in the fifth.
Kaylin Stewart got to second after an error to start the frame and after two outs were made, Talisa Fiame stepped up and roped a pitch over the fence, just to the right of dead center field for a two-run jack. Moments later, Mikayla Conlin muscled up and duplicated the home run feat, hitting a tater in almost the exact same spot to make it 7-0.
“You’re foot is on the gas pedal and of all of sudden it’s like the brakes went on,” Borg said of her team’s offense. “But, I will say that I think we hit the ball hard. We just hit it at people. They played good defense behind their pitching. But when you have a chance to put the pedal to the metal, you definitely want to do that.”
CSM sent everyone home happy in the sixth when Kristin Petrini began the inning by smacking a double off the base of the wall in center field. After a walk and a strikeout, Petrini made it to third on a wild pitch and scored when Stewart collected her second hit of the game — a single through the drawn-in defense that made it 8-0 and forced Solano to wave the white flag.
With three RBIs today, Fiame now has nine in seven games to lead the Bulldogs.