The Highlanders completed a 1-2 weekend at the NFCA Norcal Leadoff Classic tournament in Tracy with a 4-3 win over Mountain House on April 23.
The tournament attracts dozens of teams from Northern California and beyond.
Leah Bell, Chiara Lundin, Isabelle Epstein, and Gretchen Gerhardy each had two hits in the win over the Mustangs. Epstein went the distance for the win, allowing the three runs (two earned) on six hits with 10 strikeouts. She also walked two.
Mountain House jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Luna Lopez doubled in one run and she came around to score on an error.
Epstein doubled in a run in the second for Piedmont. She scored on a Gerhardy single to tie the score. Two Mustang errors in the third set up a pair of unearned runs as the Highlanders took the lead. Epstein and Gerhardy singled in the runs.
Mountain House got one back in the fifth when Kaiya Simmons singled in a run. However, Epstein then got out of a two-on, nobody out jam by striking out the next three batters. The Mustangs got a runner on in the seventh but couldn’t get the tying run home.
The game was the second for Piedmont on April 23. Earlier in the day, the Highlanders lost to Pacheco-Los Banos, 12-8. Piedmont jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but an eight-run bottom of the third followed by three in the fourth gave the Panthers control of the game.
Annabel Castronovo took the loss, allowing nine runs (seven earned) in three innings. She struck out four and walked one. The game was called due to the time limit in the bottom of the fourth.
Lundin singled in a run in the top of the first for Piedmont, which also got a run on an error to take a 2-0 lead. Abi Pikas walked for Pacheco leading off the bottom of the inning, then stole second, third and home.
Bell walked with one out in the third and stole second, advancing to third on an error on the throw. She then scored on a wild pitch. Lundin singled in a run later in the frame to make it 4-1.
Then things fell apart. Sophia Landeros singled in a run and Arissa Ruiz doubled in two to tie the score. Mya Medrano singled in two, giving the Panthers the lead for good. Aspen Jorge singled in another to make it 7-4. Pikas singled in a run and later scored on a wild pitch to cap the inning.
The Highlanders got four back in the top of the fifth, and had two on with one out but Jorge struck out the next two hitters to end the threat.
Pikas finished 4-for-4 in the game with two RBI and three runs scored. Jorge went 3-for-3. Lundin was 3-for-3 for Piedmont with three RBIs.
Piedmont opened the tournament on April 22 with an 8-2 loss to Vacaville. The Bulldogs got seven runs in the first two innings. Epstein threw a complete game and took the loss. She allowed nine hits, struck seven and walked one. Piedmont committed seven errors leading to five unearned runs.
The Highlanders’ best shot to get back in the game came in the fourth. They loaded the bases against Helena Pendergraft with one out, and then Gerhardy was hit by a pitch to knock in Piedmont’s first run. But Castrovnovo struck out and Morgan Hunt was picked off third base by catcher Jasmine Vasquez to end the inning. Bell homered in the fifth for the Highlanders’ other run.
On April 20, Piedmont dropped a 3-0 game at Alameda in West Alameda County Conference play. The Highlanders managed just three hits against Jasmine Whorley, who was dominant. Whorley struck out 16 and walked just one. Lundin, Epstein, and Angelina Wu collected the hits.
Epstein took the loss, allowing six hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in another complete game. Whorley also knocked in the game’s first run on a fielders choice in the second. The game stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Katy Lambert and Jenna Kwong each singled in a run.