By Vincent Nguyen
Strikeouts made the difference to the Maranatha High School softball team, which was unable to hit its stride as the Minutemen fell 5-0 to the Whittier Christian Warriors on April 28th.
Maranatha players were struck out 10 different times and couldn’t capitalize on any of their six hits for the afternoon. Pitcher Michelle Lieng (#12) played all seven innings, striking out three but allowing all five of Whittier Christian’s runs.
“We weren’t doing a good job staying in front of the count,” Maranatha softball co-head coach Vega said. “And we didn’t do a good job adjusting, and we had to adjust – whether it’s staying ahead of the count or staying ahead of the pitch.”
Vega’s side fell early in the first inning, succumbing to two runs thanks to a triple and a double right after the other. Maranatha’s defensive efforts strengthened in the second inning, allowing no hits and quickly catching batters out.
But those efforts were mirrored by the Warriors at the top of the third, with the only hit coming from Karen Lieng’s (#3) single to right field. Lieng was the only Maranatha player registering multiple hits and went 2-for-2 for the day. Maranatha wasn’t able to replicate their defensive prowess at the bottom of the second, and allowed two runs, a walk, and a steal. However, the Minutemen highlighted and closed the inning with a stunning double play to end the inning down by four runs.
Maranatha found their defensive groove and closed out Whittier Christian in the fourth and the fifth inning without allowing any hits and holding the Warriors to a four-run lead. But the Minutemen were unable to capitalize their efforts as the Warriors were able to keep their lead intact and stay on course for the victory with five strikeouts in the same two innings.
Maranatha looked threatening in the sixth inning, but was still unable to send a runner home with two runners out on the field. On the other hand, Whittier Christian was able to get a walk and two singles that eventually led to another run, stretching their lead to five. The Warriors would quickly close out the game, striking out the first two Maranatha batters before catching a fly ball.
“Our defense played well. They had two really good hits with their triple and their double, but other than that, they didn’t have anything.” Vega said about her team’s afternoon effort. “But we do have to tighten up a little bit. There were two errors that ended up in runs, so if we cleaned that up and stringed hits, we could’ve won the game.”
Maranatha will look to bounce back on April 30 as they face Village Christian in league play. The Minutemen will be at Village Christian, with the game set to start at 3:30 p.m.