Varsity Softball sneaks past Bonita in unbelievable fashion for home opener


Trina Lizama

#25 Marisa Dominguez (10) slides into home to score the winning run in the 7th.

Avery Rosas, Sports Editor

Varsity softball saw their first piece of league action on a Tuesday evening, hosting Bonita for the start of what will hopefully be a very successful season. Senior Karson Zavala got the start for the Bulldogs and notched a scoreless first inning while leaving a runner at first to get the game started.

Senior Brooklyn Shroyer, who took the bump for Bonita, gave a quick glimpse as to what they could expect to see all game, striking out 2 in the first and stranding a runner at first. Zavala returned the favor over the next 3 innings; she set down the side in order in the second, stranded a runner at first in the third, and struck out her first 2 batters in the fourth with a runner at second.

Throughout those 3 innings, Shroyer only got better; she struck out the side in the second after allowing a leadoff single and struck out another in the third; in the fourth, she struck out two after a walk. Already through 4 innings, Shroyer had struck out 8 batters and was hungry for more.

Karson Zavala (12) had a quality start for the Bulldogs, allowing 2 earned runs in 5 innings of work. (Trina Lizama)

The fifth inning is where things began to look very different for the two teams, with Karson running into trouble after a catching error at first put a runner on and a walk putting 2 runners on with only one out. An opposite field single to right field by leadoff hitter number 28 allowed the first run of the game to score and another hit within the next 2 pitches stretched the lead further. 

After another single scored 2 more runs for Bonita, a sac bunt moved another group of runners over to set up a walk and an error at shortstop. With the bases loaded once again in the inning, a lineout to second ended the threat after putting up 4 runs. Zavala’s night was over, having allowed 2 earned runs and 4 runs in total through 5 full innings, walking 2 and striking out 2.

As for Shroyer, she kept on rolling in the fifth, striking out 3 and pitching around a double for another goose egg in the score column. Up to this point, Ayala’s offense had not seemed to figure out how to approach the strike-throwing righty. Allie Lukaszewicsz, a right-handed sophomore for Ayala, took over for Zavala after the fifth and put up a zero with one strikeout and a line drive hit to right being left stranded.

Shroyer was rolling going into the sixth until being ambushed on the second pitch of the inning with a line drive to left field for a hit by number 25, Marisa Dominguez. A wild pitch advanced Dominguez to second and, after a strikeout looking, scored the first run of the game for Ayala on a double by number 15, Taelor Walker. Despite opportunities after the double, Ayala would have to settle with one as Shroyer was able to work around the runners and escape with only that one allowed. 

It was in the 7th when the game was at its most tense, with Lukaszewicsz striking out the side in the top of the 7th before the ensuing madness. Shroyer, who had been slinging it through the first 6 innings with 13 strikeouts, got her first out on a strikeout looking. She would not record an out after the fact. 

After 2 straight doubles from the 8 and 9 hitters, she was finding that the third time through the order was not going her way. Even though she was able to get #18 Tehya Banks to strike out once again, a passed ball allowed her to reach first. A wild pitch to put runners at second and third put everyone on their feet as the tying runners were now both in scoring position. 

Dominguez, who had a single the inning prior, ripped a double to center after some relay chaos took the ball all around the field and allowed the runner on second to score. In order to avoid facing the next 2 hitters, Bonita intentionally walked both of them to load the bases for sophomore #5 Jordyn Balingit. 

With the infield pulled in, Balingit layed down a bunt squeeze back to the mound and, despite Shroyer’s most earnest attempts, scored the winning run. A 4-run inning, decided by clutch hitting and some defensive chaos, allowed our Bulldogs to claw their way back to a win from the clutches of defeat; we hope to see many more wins, hopefully before there are 2 outs left in the game, this 2023 season.

Final box score:

Bonita – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 4 – 0 – 0 : 4

Ayala – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 1 – 4 : 5

(W) – Lukaszewicsz

(L) – Shroyer