I ran track for a season in high school, mostly because I wanted a sport to play while soccer took a backseat for the spring and partly because I thought, “Hey, running is easy — it’s a basic human function, everybody can do it!” I was, however, humbled about one practice into the season and realized that my initial premonitions couldn’t have been more wrong.
Cal softball, on the contrary, made running look absolutely effortless as they run-ruled both Bowling Green and UC Santa Barbara with 11 apiece in the Gauchos Classic that took place over the weekend.
In the opening game on Friday against the Bowling Green Falcons, a comparatively quiet first four innings turned into an uproar of a fifth with the Bears earning nine runs in the bottom of the frame. Bowling Green’s two-run lead in the top of the third lasted about as long as it takes to say “Destiny Blueford” — the junior transfer’s 2 RBI double tied things up for the Bears in the bottom of the fourth and marked only the beginning of the unraveling of the Falcon’s pitching.
Despite earning one more run in the top of the fifth, Falcons senior Meredith Miller’s pitching appearance in the fifth brought everything but relief to the then-in-the-lead-again Bowling Green. After walking Cal’s Jordan Fines, the Bears loaded the bases with back-to-back singles from Lindsay Rood and Amani Bradley and scored after Lauren Espalin was hit by a pitch.
The rest is history — Rood and Bradley score off an error, Alexandra Perez gets hit by a pitch, Karlee Sparacino hits a 3 RBI triple to put the Bears up 8-3. Rood returns the favor and brings in Sparacino before Bradley earns another RBI and Espalin follows with a walkoff RBI of her own. Bears win 11-3.
Just hours later, Cal faced off against UCSB, but wasted no time this go around and scored 11 runs in only the first three innings to shutout and run-rule the Gauchos in one fell swoop. Seven Bears contributed to the run mania that unfolded, with Rood scoring three times and Bradley and Mikayla Coelho each scoring twice. Kamalani Dung earned her sixth win of the season while fanning 10 batters, and Zoe Conley earned her third win after pitching five whole innings without a walk in the game against Bowling Green.
Cal’s game against LIU Brooklyn and second matchup versus UCSB that were scheduled for Saturday were canceled due to inclement weather — but maybe they were just scared of getting run-ruled too.
The next time the Bears take to their bats will be Wednesday, March 6 on the dirt of Hawaii’s beautiful softball diamonds — the sandy beaches can wait for later.
Dung’s much anticipated homecoming will be kicked off by a matchup between Cal and a winless St. Bonaventure, who they’ll play again Friday. The Bears will also face Niagra in the Purple Eagles’ first game of the 2019 season before playing host school Hawaii and a currently 5-5 Southern Illinois Edwardsville.
Given the unexpected few days of rest granted to the Bears, Cal softball will no doubt be charged and ready to give the five teams in the Spring Fling a run for their money.