When a softball team like Davis High is struggling at the plate, the answer is to step up its performance in other aspects of the game — which is exactly what the Blue Devils did on Wednesday.
On the strength of its pitching and defense, DHS posted a 4-2 Delta Valley Conference home win over Monterey Trail.
Rachel Mobley started the game in the circle for the Devils (7-11, 2-1) and pitched four scoreless innings, allowing only four hits.
Mobley was relieved by freshman Audrey Dufresne after the fourth inning. The switch made pitching a Dufresne family affair, as older sister Ashley, a senior, was behind the plate. The younger Dufresne baffled the Mustangs, giving up four hits while recording five strikeouts.
Three of the punchouts came in a sizzling sixth inning.
“Audrey and (Rachel) pitched absolutely fantastic,” said Davis skipper Art Guerra.
And the Blue Devil defense was superb behind the stifling pitching pair. Ashley Dufresne gunned down the only MTHS runner who attempted a steal, and left fielder Catherine Slabaugh got the locals out of a jam by making a tough catch, then doubling up a runner who failed to tag up.
“We keep playing great defense,” Guerra said. “That’s what’s going to win games for us.”
At the plate, DHS played a very opportunistic game, capitalizing on a number of wild pitches.
The Devils got on the board first when Slabaugh tripled in the third inning, and was driven home on a double by the red-hot Danielle Styers.
One frame later, Davis added two more runs, with some help from the Mustangs. Maddie Asta’s double got things started, and she eventually scored on a wild pitch. Faith Harlan got to first on a dropped third strike and, two wild pitches later, was standing on third base.
Slabaugh then continued her strong game — which earned praise from her coach — with an RBI single to put her team up 3-0.
Monterey Trail put two runs on the board in the top of the fifth, but the Blue Devils responded in the bottom half as Stanford-bound senior Kaitlyn Lagattuta made it to second on an error, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by junior Emily Ginn.
With seven different players reaching base, and the whole squad playing good defense, the DHS victory truly was a team effort.
“I gotta be honest, I’m proud of the whole team,” Guerra said. “Not one individual, I’m really proud of the whole team. They played very well as a group (Wednesday).”
Davis will need to continue to get team-wide production when it is back into DVC play the week after next. Following a nonconference home game against Granite Bay next Wednesday, the Devils go to 10-4 Elk Grove on April 21 and play back-to-back games against Franklin April 22 (at home) and April 23.