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Vaqueros use pitching and defense to top Bakersfield 4-2

Hope Ballard slides into home to score the Vaqueros' first run on a passed ball. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Hope Ballard slides into home to score the Vaqueros' first run on a passed ball. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Calista Wendell pitched a complete game and SBCC's defense was sharp on Friday in a 4-2 softball win over visiting Bakersfield.

The Vaqueros (17-13, 10-7 WSC North) were held to three hits by McKenna Valencia but took advantage of eight walks. Lauren Hope Ballard tied the game 1-1 in the first by scoring on a passed ball and SBCC went ahead 2-1 in the third on a single by Sydney Townes, two straight walks and a sacrifice fly by Monica Salas.

Bakersfield fell to 17-16 and 13-5 in conference. The Renegades are third in the WSC North standings and the Vaqueros are fifth.

"It was a pretty good game but we could have scored more," said Vaquero coach Paula Congleton. "We looked at strike 3 a couple of times with the bases loaded. We got enough runs today but those are the kind of plays you have to make to win most games.

"We're happy we won today and we did some good things. Maggie (Jackson) came up with that big hit in the fifth and Calista kept her pitch count down and kept their batters off-balance."

Wendell (6-4) gave up two runs on eight hits. Valencia (9-11) tossed a three-hitter and allowed four runs (two earned) with six strikeouts and eight walks.

Townes made a nice diving catch to end the sixth inning and Salas turned a pair of unassisted double plays at shortstop by touching second and throwing to first to end the fifth inning and to end the game.

The Vaqueros stretched the lead to 3-1 in the fifth when Madison McNamee walked, went to second on a passed ball and scored on a two-out triple down the left-field line by Maggie Jackson. Alyssa Gonzales cut the deficit to 3-2 with a line-drive homer in the sixth.

Santa Barbara got an insurance run in the sixth when Connie Towne walked and Felicia Granlund pinch-ran for her. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Granlund scored when Ballard's fly near the right-field line was dropped for an error.

"Our defense and our pitching were the highlights today," said Congleton. "We just beat a team that was 13-4 in conference. It doesn't look like we're going to make the playoffs and that stings a little bit.

"When we play the way we should play, nobody's going to beat us. The bad thing is we haven't always shown up this year."

The Vaqueros continue their seven-game homestand on Tuesday when they host second-place Ventura (20-9, 11-3) for a doubleheader at 1 and 3 p.m.