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SOFTBALL: Genera’s career performance spoiled by early blunders as Whitney falls in season opener

By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter

 

Taylor Genera did as much as she could to give her Whitney High softball team an opening-season victory against visiting Dominguez High. The senior pitcher allowed one hit and struck out a career-high and quite possibly a school record 19 batters.

But, as has been the case of the program’s history for several seasons, the defense failed the Lady Wildcats as well as the lack of timely hits. The Dons were staked to an early lead on a pair of unearned runs, then held off a late rally to edge Whitney 3-2 this past Tuesday at the Cerritos Sports Complex.

“I think we beat ourselves in this one,” said longtime Whitney head coach Luis Lavayen. “It’s the first game and at least they’re hitting a little better. But, let’s see how it goes on the season.
“Taylor did an outstanding job with her pitching,” he continued. “Even though they hit, we committed the errors. I think we helped [Dominguez] get there.”

On the first pitch of the game, Genera hit Emily Soriano, who then stole second, went to third on a pitch and came home on a two-out fielder’s choice from Emily Ibarro. Genera would settle down in the next two innings, striking out five and yielding a two-out hit in the top of the second inning.

Meanwhile, the Lady Wildcats had a golden opportunity to answer back in their half of the first. Sophomore shortstop Mia Sun singled, stole second and advanced on a groundout from junior centerfielder Gabrielle Madjus. A walk to Genera, who promptly stole second, looked prime for a run or two. But a strikeout and a groundout on a full count ended the chance.

In the second inning, a one-out single from senior Valerie Villegas was wasted when she was caught stealing, followed by a strikeout. Then in the next inning, Sun sent a one-out pitch deep to left field, only to see it hauled in by Celeste Valencia on a beautiful backhand catch. After that, seven of the next Lady Wildcats would be retired.

“That was a catch by the left fielder,” Lavayen said. “You have to give all the honors on that. She did a good job on that one.”

Meanwhile. Dominguez added to its lead in the top of the fourth when Ibarro reached on a two-base error with one out and scored on a passed ball. Two innings later. Genera struck out Valencia, but still made it to first on a dropped strike three ball. A pair of errors and a wild pitch led to the third run. Still. Genera struck out four in the inning plus all three in the seventh.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Lady Wildcats got on the board when Sun reached on an error and moved up a base when Madjus put down a bunt up the third base line. Three pitches later, Genera doubled to center. Junior first baseman Kimberly Rossello was then walked and one out later, junior second baseman Susana Toscano was safe on an infield single to load the bases. But a strikeout and a groundout ended that threat and Whitney was retired in the seventh inning.

“We were getting towards the bottom of the lineup and I knew that would happen,” Lavayen said. “It’s funny; I take them to the cages and they’ve been doing great. They come out here and it’s like they’re all scared. They don’t want to hit the ball.”

Whitney travelled to Long Beach Cabrillo High on Feb. 21 and faced Ramona Convent High on Saturday in a Lincoln Tournament game. The Lady Wildcats will also travel to Segerstrom High on Tuesday before hosting Rancho Alamitos High on Thursday.

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