American Canyon knocked Napa High out of first place in the Vine Valley Athletic League softball standings with a 10-2 road win Tuesday, getting a complete game from Lisa Bolton and a solid all-around hitting performance.
Bolton went the full seven innings for the Wolves (8-4, 5-2 VVAL) as they remained tied for first place with Vintage, a 16-4 winner Tuesday at Justin-Siena. She struck out five while allowing two earned runs and eight hits. The senior also managed to hit a sharp 3 for 3 at the plate with a walk and RBI.
“I just think that I move the ball around really well,” said Bolton. “I was working the corners, up and down, and speeds. I think that my biggest strength today was just kind of keeping them guessing.”
The Grizzlies (5-6, 4-3 VVAL) seldom guessed right. Bolton held them scoreless until the sixth inning.
Wolves head coach Roger Harris suggested that Bolton, who will pitch next year for NAIA power Morningside College of Sioux City, Iowa, has long been a consistent presence on the mound. It is simply a matter of whether or not her defense supports her properly.
“Lisa has pitched great her four years. If we can keep the errors to a minimum and keep hitting, we’re good,” Harris said. “Today they played very well. Kept the errors to a minimum. That’s been our Achilles’ heel the last couple years.”
The hitting seemed to come easy for American Canyon (8-4, 5-2 VVAL) early, as its first five batters all reached base and give Bolton an early 3-0 lead.
Katherine Montuya (1 for 3, RBI, 2 runs, walk) started the scoring when she knocked in her 14th RBI of the season for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Yanesa Rosas (2 for 4, 2 RBIs, run) smacked a two-run single to right field that plated Alexis Abalos (2 for 5, run) and Montuya.
The Wolves added to their lead in the fifth when Bolton doubled past diving Napa center fielder Grace Guzman, a University of Michigan commit, for an RBI. Journey McCoy (2 for 4, 3 RBIs, run) followed with an RBI single to extend the lead to 5-0.
The Grizzlies finally managed to get on the board in the sixth inning when freshman UCLA commit Caitlyn Newburn (1 for 3, 2 RBIs, run) saw a pitch she liked and launched it over the left field wall for a two-run jack. The home run was her sixth of the season in 11 games.
“She is a great kid, an unbelievable talent,” Napa head coach Ron Walston said of Newburn. “It’s to the point now where you’re just waiting for her. You’ve got a runner on or two runners and if she just misses one, you’re actually surprised.”
Despite the jolt that Newburn’s deep shot seemed to give the Napa dugout, the Wolves closed the game with their foot on the accelerator.
After the first three American Canyon hitters reached base to kick off the seventh, McCoy plated two more runs with a single to left to give her three RBIs on the day. McCoy scored later in the inning on a fielder’s choice from Raegan Roldan-Jackson (1 for 4, RBI, run, walk), and two more runs came in as a result of a wild pitch.
Also for American Canyon, Madelyn Chambers was 1 for 4 with a run, Greta Fast walked and scored a run, and Samantha Becvar scored twice.
Makenna Walls went 2 for 2 with a walk and run for Napa, Abby Arata and Walston were each 1 for 3, and Guzman was 1 for 2 with 2 walks.
Coach Walston suggested that his team is, “still improving overall,” but added that “today didn’t really show that.” His girls will be back on the field at 4 p.m. Thursday, hosting Petaluma as they try to get back into the first-place mix.
Meanwhile, the Wolves will look to stay on top when they host Casa Grande at 4 p.m. Thursday.
“We just have to continue playing how we are – keep our hitting up, our fielding up and our dugout presence up,” Bolton smiled. “If we play how we did today for the rest of the season, I think we’ll be fine.”