LYFORD — In their first meeting against a Class 3A opponent on Wednesday, Lyford was put to the test against San Diego.
On a day where runs came at a minimum, San Diego had the timely hitting and capitalized on Lyford’s miscues.
It took the Lady Vaqueros a few innings to solve Lyford hurler Jerrica Rojas – who struck out 11 batters in a complete-game effort – but in the end they did en route to a 5-3 victory.
With the game knotted at 1-1, San Diego’s Leandra Bazan led off the sixth with a single and later scored the go-ahead run on a Lorena Hinojosa RBI that put the Lady Vaqueros ahead 2-1.
In the seventh, the Lady Vaqueros added three more runs and held on for the win. The Lady Bulldogs will now prepare for their District 32-3A opener next Friday at home against Monte Alto with first pitch set for 4:30 p.m.
“Through the non-district portion of the season we wanted to play some tough teams,” said Lyford coach Joey Rios. “We played our first 3A team today and we played a tough San Diego team that is in the district right above us. Playing against them (San Diego) gives us a gage on where we are at.
“They’re a respectable team and play in a tough district. Today we did some good things on defense and in the circle, but we just struggled to hit the ball today.”
Along with the 11-strikeouts, Rojas, who is Lyford’s workhorse, kept the Lady Vaqueros at bay all afternoon. She struck out the side in the first two innings and didn’t surrender a run until the third.
“My arm feels a bit tingly, but I feel good; it was a long day,” Rojas said. “In the circle I felt I did well, but at the plate I didn’t execute as well as I wanted to. For being off a week, I felt good out there. Playing against San Diego is good for us; we want to play against tough teams so we can get ready for district and eventually get ready for the playoffs.”
In the first inning, Lyford struck first when Ayleen Castillo drove in Hannah Garza on an RBI single. After the RBI by Garza, San Diego pitcher Miranda Buentello wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam and held Lyford to just the one run.
Buentello went toe to toe with Rojas and cruised through the Lyford line up as the righty answered her counterpart with a complete game allowing three unearned runs.
Offensively, Lyford stranded 11 runners on base and put together six hits as a club. Despite the offensive being in a funk, Coach Rios remained optimistic about the team’s future.
“It’s been a journey for us; we’re a young team we that has a couple of seniors who are great leaders,” Rios said. “We saw some things that the kids can and can’t do, so we’re going to build on that going forward.
“The good thing it’s Spring Break and taking a step back from the game helps. We will have time to rest; we have played a lot of softball over the last few weeks. We can use this time to relax, get our feet back under us and get ready for district next week.”