Softball is back

PASO ROBLES — The Lady Bearcats softball team held their home opener on Wednesday night and crushed their way to a 9-3 victory over the Morro Bay. Paso Robles hung four runs on the Pirates in the first inning before recording an out and then cruised on the arms of Hannah Chambers (pictured above) and Brooklyn Pesenti.

Chambers, who started the game in place of Jaiden Ralston while dealing with a tight hamstring, pitched a strong game in her first outing of the season, giving up only two hits and one earned run over five innings of work.

“I really liked that my catcher was able to call my pitches, and my defense was definitely there to back me up,” Chambers told the Paso Robles Press. “As a whole, we all flowed really well together.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

The senior captain spent much of the pandemic developing some new pitches and showed a few of them off on Wednesday to unsuspecting hitters. While Chambers has a few new weapons in the arsenal, her reliable screwball drew the most swings and misses against the Pirates.

“I was super excited to try out some of my new pitches that I learned over the summer and the new strength that I have built over the past few months,” Chambers explained. “COVID has been a little bit of a blessing in disguise because I have been able to grow and lift weights and stuff like that.”

In this extended offseason, she has added three new pitches to her repertoire in a rise ball, drop ball and an especially nasty changeup that drew the largest whiff of the afternoon on Wednesday.

Offensively, the Crimson Cats looked supercharged as nine different girls registered a hit in the game. Paso Robles scored the majority of their runs in two innings, exploding for four runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth.

The Bearcats also scored one run in the fifth inning thanks to a moonshot from junior first baseman Andie Dizon who has begun the season in the zone. Dizon has registered four hits, a home run and three RBI through two games this season.

“We did a little bit of everything today on offense,” Bearcat head coach Billy Tidwell said. “We did all the fundamental stuff, and we hit some good pitches. I am happy with what they are swinging at — we have one or two girls that are struggling — but we have had a pleasant surprise with the bottom half of the lineup. We put up four in the first inning before registering an out; I will take that any day. Then, Andie Dizon bangs one 300 feet; we’re hoping she does that all year long.”

Pesenti entered the game in the fifth inning and struggled just a bit in her first varsity outing but quickly regained her confidence and closed out the game striking out the final two batters she faced.

“We have two games on Saturday, and Jaiden [Ralston] is nursing a bit of a hamstring right now, so these two are going to have to be ready to go giving us three innings or four innings apiece,” Tidwell noted. “Hannah [Chambers] was cruising and did a good job getting out of a little trouble. Brooklyn, being a sophomore, I asked her if she was ready, and we found out she wasn’t. She came in a little colder than she thought she was; I’m sure a little bit of that was nerves with it being her first varsity inning.”

Saturday, the Bearcats will be in San Luis Obispo for a doubleheader against the Mission Prep Royals. The first game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. and can be watched live on the VOP Sports Network.

Paso Robles High School Bearcats started their softball season off strong. Photos By Connor Allen