The grand opening of the remodeled Davis High softball field was a roaring success.
Following a soft opening — last weekend’s Davis tournament — Tuesday’s outing against Inderkum was the Blue Devils’ first true home game at the new-look field, which received several upgrades, including a permanent outfield fence, in the offseason.
DHS celebrated with a fun, 10-0 victory over the Tigers, cramming in a season’s worth of highlights along the way. That list included:
*Kailtyn Lagattuta’s fourth-inning smash to the left-center field fence that ended up as a standup inside-the-park home run;
*Junior pitcher Rachel Mobley striking out four Inderkum batters in one inning;
*Freshman Audrey Dufresne tossing three no-hit innings (with her senior sister Ashley behind the dish) and combining with Mobley on a one-hit shutout and;
*Junior Emily Ginn going 3-for-3 and scoring on a sixth-inning, “walk-off” wild pitch that triggered the mercy rule.
“The kids came a lot more relaxed (Tuesday),” said Devil coach Art Guerra. “I think playing at home takes a lot of the pressure off.
“The kids take pride in it, especially with the new field.”
That pride really started to show after Guerra called a timeout just three pitches into the game. Davis (3-4) had dropped a pop-up, allowing the first batter to reach base, then let a tough foul pop drop between catcher and first base.
Guerra calmed down his charges with a meeting on the mound, and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
Audrey Dufresne quickly mowed down the next three hitters, and the locals went to work in the bottom of the first.
Senior Danielle Styers led off by blasting a double into deep left, then scored one batter later on Lagattuta’s RBI single. The Stanford-bound senior finished with three RBIs on the day.
Ginn followed with a walk, the first of her four times on base Tuesday. Singles by Dominique Sommer and Madi Yule sent Ginn home and gave the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.
“We were playing more loose (Tuesday),” Lagattuta explained. “Being tight and being nervous in this game is going to kill you, especially in the batter’s box. You have to be aggressive and confident in yourself.
“We got behind each other (Tuesday) and, you know, hitting is contagious, so once one girl does it, it will keep going.”
The epidemic spread to the entire team as eight different DHS batters had at least one hit in the contest.
Following another three-up, three-down inning from Audrey Dufresne, the Devils broke open the game with five runs in the bottom of the second.
Olivia Schmidt reached on an error, Styers hit the ball hard again — this time for a single — and both scored on Catherine Slabaugh’s hit. Schmidt came home on the single, while Styers was sent to the plate on an interference call to make it 4-0.
Slabaugh, who was at second because of the interference, stole third before darting home on Lagattuta’s sacrifice fly.
With the bases clear, Davis still wasn’t done as Ginn singled and went to second on an obstruction call. The next batter, Ashley Dufresne, crushed a double deep into center for an RBI. Pinch runner Rachel Clift made it 7-0 on another Inderkum error.
The Blue Devils struck again in the fourth inning, when Lagattuta turned on a one-out fastball and raced around the bases.
“It’s a good thing (the new fence) is so deep in left field,” Lagattuta said with a laugh. “My mental approach was much better (Tuesday). I told myself to have confidence and just believe in my swing. I saw the pitch and I hit it. I’m much better against faster pitching then some of the slower stuff we’ve been seeing.”
Not to be outdone, Mobley had a nice moment of her own in the top of the fifth, striking out all four batters she faced after the first one reached on a passed ball.
DHS added runs in the fifth and sixth — on a passed ball and a wild pitch, respectively — to end the game early.
“I really hope this will transfer into our next game; we needed some confidence because our offense has been struggling a little bit,” Lagattuta said. “But once we get our hits going like we did (Tuesday), I think it will continue.
“We’ll see a little better pitching on Thursday, but with some confidence in each other and the ability to work with each other and back each other up … it looks good.”
That better pitching will come from Woodland as the Devils head to the Wolves’ home field for a 4 p.m. Thursday contest.
— Reach Chris Saur at email@example.com or 530-747-8049.