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June 13, 2021

‘Catz claw Knights, win SCCAL crown

Win steak extends to 15

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville High softball team continued its quest for an undefeated season with another blowout victory in its final home game. 

The Wildcatz defeated the Soquel High Knights, 11-2, in Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League play on Tuesday, improving to 15-0 overall and capturing their first league title since 2018 when they were still part of the now defunct Monterey Bay League.

Anastacia Alba, a senior, said they did what they’ve been doing lately, which is score early and often. The Chico State-bound infielder batted 1-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Soquel’s Tori Sierra got the start inside the circle Tuesday. The Wildcatz got to her early with RBI singles from junior Marissa Martinez and sophomore Abreanna Alba—Anastacia’s younger sister.

Martinez also recorded her fifth home run of the season, a two-run blast to right-center field that extended the Wildcatz lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third inning.

“It was better than our last showing where we took longer, until the fifth inning [to score],” Alba said. “We took the momentum pretty much in the first inning.”

The last time both teams met was April 27. The Knights jumped out to an early lead that afternoon. The Wildcatz didn’t get cooking until the fifth inning when junior infielder Rylee Gomez hit a three-run home run that put them ahead for good.

Alba also mentioned that not having Soquel freshman pitcher Nevaeh Martinez make the start helped tremendously.

“I think that Nevaeh is probably their top pitcher and I’m not sure why she wasn’t pitching,” Alba said. 

Watsonville produced most of its runs in the fourth inning, starting with an RBI double from Gomez. She batted 2-for-3 with three runs scored and an RBI.

Abreanna Alba, a sophomore, followed up with a double that drove in two runs that made it 9-1. 

She batted 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored. Maliyah Sandin batted 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Watsonville coach Scott Wilson said they’ve been improving with getting off to quicker starts and not having to play from behind.

“Let’s figure it out early and they made adjustments to it,” he said. “They’re getting on it now and they’re really attacking the zone, not being afraid of making a mistake.”

Martinez got the start for Watsonville. She gave up two runs and seven hits for the complete-game victory. She finished with three strikeouts.

Wilson said the players have formed a strong bond since the season opener on April 15.

“It’s really just about how they’re connecting and clicking together, otherwise the team doesn’t work,” he said. “You can have some of the best talent on the team but if they don’t know how to play together most of the time that doesn’t work.”

Wilson has been working with a roster of 21 players, ranging from freshman to seniors. He said the bench players are ready to go and continue to work out when the opportunity rises.

He mentioned that playing three games a week in a shortened season makes it difficult for him to make changes because he doesn’t want to mess with whatever chemistry they might have. 

“They’re good sports and they’re cheering their teammates on and ready to go at any time,” he said. 

Anastacia Alba, a four-year starter, said she couldn’t ask for a better program to play in. Alba noted that Wilson is an under-appreciated coach, especially because she feels like he’s not here to brag about winning a league title or earning a trip to the Central Coast Section playoffs.

“He just wants us to work,” she said. “He leaves it up to us and playing here shows you to humble yourself.”

Wilson believes they’ll have an opportunity to play in the CCS postseason. He’s doing his best to keep the players prepared but he said it’s been difficult. They haven’t had a chance to play teams outside of the county because of Covid-19-related restrictions.

He mentioned that because of their record they might get thrown into the Open Division to face powerhouse teams such as Notre Dame-Salinas, San Benito High, St. Francis-Mountain View and Archbishop Mitty.

“It is what it is, so we’ll just do what we gotta do,” he said. 

The Wildcatz will wrap up their regular season against Aptos High on Saturday at 1pm.


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