Led by long distance home runs from pitcher Esperanza Coe and catcher Saige Alexander, the Yucaipa High School softball team sewed up a spot in the post season playoffs after its 14-3 over visiting Cajon last Tuesday. Coe helped herself with a tremendous shot that traveled an estimated 50 feet further than the 200 foot marker in left field. Coe pitched the first three shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out five. YHS improved to 7-2 in Citrus Belt League (12-11) overall. Cajon dropped to 1-8 (8-15) overall.
YHS scored eight runs in the first inning, highlighted by a three-run triple from senior Brianna Martinez, who led all hitters by going 3-for-4 and scored three times. Another senior, Alyssa Fries, also had three RBIs by going 2-for-4. YHS coach Stephanie Landavazo said the win served as a confidence builder going into the playoffs and at the same time allowed her to play the seniors the whole game.
Landavazo noted that YHS will be the No. 1 seed out of the CBL since her team and Redlands East Valley are the only league teams assigned to the CIF’s top division. YHS defeated REV three times and eliminated it from the post-season. Landavazo revealed that Coe has been playing most of the season with an injured knee, hindering both her pitching and hitting. “She has now recovered,” said Landavazo, who was not surprised by the distance of Coe’s home run blast. “She does that all the time in practice.” Likewise, Landavazo said all of Coe’s assorted pitches were working “with good velocity.”
With a safe 10-0 lead, Coe was replaced on the mound by Delaney Saugstad and then Makenna Stuart. The young hurlers combined to walk 10 hitters in two innings. Cajon worked five walks in the fourth inning but was able to score only one run. Saugstad escaped further damage by getting a double play started by shortstop Huff who tossed to second baseman Angela Gerber who fired to Fries. Cajon still threatened in the fourth but Saugstad got a strikeout to end the threat.
Huff helped limit Cajon in the fifth inning when she fielded a ground ball and with the bases loaded she threw a strike to catcher Kayla Miller to get a force out. After Stuart walked in two runs she was able to get a strikeout and fly out to leave the bases loaded and kept the score at 11-3. YHS was able to score three runs in the bottom of the fifth with Fries getting the walk off hit to give YHS the 14-3 10-run mercy rule win.