In her first two at bats, Hailey Fryklund of San Marcos struck out then hit a foul ball that knocked the batting helmet off her head before popping out to second base.
She knocked out the stuffing out of the ball in her third plate appearance, clearing the bases with a double and powering the Royals to a 4-1 Channel League softball win over crosstown rival Dos Pueblos on Tuesday at the San Marcos diamond.
It was San Marcos’ second win over DP this season — the first was at the Simi Manlet Tournament — and fifth in a row dating back to last year. And the result gave the Royals a 2-0 record in Channel League and an 8-1 mark overall.
The Royals were down 1-0 when they loaded the bases in the fifth inning against DP starter Talia Bloxham. Katana Anderson Morris looped a single to left and Savannah Tait and Aliyah Huerta-Leipner drew one-out walks to load the bases.
“I wanted to hit the ball so bad,” she said. “I think you can tell from my second at-bat. It was my pitch… it was right there, it looked so good. I was just ready, was really ready to hit it.”
Coach Jeff Swann said his hitters have the green light when the count is 3-0.
“I let them take that,” he said. “If the pitcher was to get the ball in the zone, get that strike, what better pitch to hit. You got to be aggressive, and these guys love to hit. They got the green light whenever they want.”
Said Fryklund of her hit: I knew it was a line drive; it felt so good. As a hitter, you know.”
Hailey’s younger sister, Allie Fryklund, greeted new pitcher Allison Speshyock with a RBI single to make it a 4-1 game.
“They’re a great one-two punch,” Swann said of the sisters. “Super excited to have them (hitting) back-to-back. You can’t pitch around our 3-4-5 hitters. They can hit to the fence or over it. We’re really lucky, really blessed with those kids.”
Speshyock got the next two batters to end the inning and retired the side in order in the sixth, but the damage was done.
San Marcos got a solid pitching performance from Huerta-Leipner. She gave up one run on three hits, walked three and struck out eight in going the distance.
“She was probably the least rusty of anybody,” said Swann, who added that Huerta-Leipner worked out during spring break.
The DP run came in the fourth. Nova Sinskul and Brianna Castro led off the inning with back-to-back singles, with Sinksul advancing to third base. After a pop out to first, the Boston University-bound Huerta-Leipiner got Sierra Laughner to hit a pop up behind second base. Anderson Morris, the San Marcos shortstop, ran over to make the catch and a daring Sinskul tagged up and raced for home.
Morris fired the ball to catcher Morgan Jensen, who was up the third base line. Sinskul, however, dodged the tag and scored for a 1-0 lead. Jensen stayed alert on the play and gunned the ball to Hailey Fryklund, who tagged out Castro as she slid into third base.
“We talk about keeping it simple,” Swann said. “Softball is about playing catch. In that instance, they forced us to play catch a little faster, but we made that play. That was huge. Heads up from Mo to get the ball at home and make the play at third.”
DP assistant coach Jasmyne Perry said Sinskul did a good job following the ball and breaking for home.
“The shortstop was going back on the ball (and) she timed it right,” Perry said. “She left right when the shortstop caught the ball. She’s pretty quick.”
Perry didn’t feel the lack of playing games was the issue for the Chargers (2-4)
“I don’t think it was rust for us,” she said. “I’m not so sure we felt the urgency to win, I should say. But, all in all, our girls did well defensivley, our pitcher was throwing really well the first four innings. She was on.
“They’re a very good hitting team,” she said of the Royals. “So, for (Bloxham) to keep their 3-4-5 hitters off for that many innings and have just one bad inning, it happens.”
Swann was relieved to get past their crosstown rival after not playing for two weeks due to rainouts and Spring Break.
“I’m glad our kids had the big inning,” he said. “AJ, she kind of carried us today, and the huge hit by Hailey was awesome.
“This was a great jump start and I was happy the way our kids came out,” he added. “They weren’t sharp but they battled and they got enough of the ball and they played pretty good defensively. They got good at-bats. Out or not, it’s effort based. If they’re putting the effort in, things are going to happen.”