Bishop Diego Endures Growing Pains In 16-4 Loss to Malibu

With a roster that features 13 freshmen, a massive rebuilding effort is underway for the Bishop Diego softball program.

The Cardinals have played well this season when matched up
against similarly inexperienced competition, but struggled to keep pace in a
16-4 loss to Malibu on Tuesday afternoon.

“It’s an interesting challenge, but it’s very rewarding as
well because you can see all of the improvement,” said Bishop Diego first-year
coach MeLinda Matsumoto. “ “There’s a couple new players that have really
excelled and taken it on and you wouldn’t know that they weren’t varsity
athletes before.”

The Cardinals (5-6) only won three games last season and are
not affiliated with a league this season due to a lack of competitiveness in
recent years.  

Returners Julia Gregson, Sydney Naour and Miranda Alvarez
have taken on leadership roles and contributed to the maturation of the younger
players.

“I really am having the girls with experience help mentor
and teach the other girls with things like how to step out of the box and take
a sign from the coach,” Matsumoto said.

Bishop Diego freshman Amy Mancinelli got the start in the
circle for the second time this season and surrendered three runs on three hits
in the first inning, including back-to-back doubles to lead off the game by
Malibu’s Karis Hughes and Janet Ann Purtell.

Mancinelli settled in and pitched a scoreless second inning
before giving way to Gregson in the third.

After Gregson retired Malibu in order in the fourth inning,
Bishop Diego remained within striking distance trailing 4-0 going into the
fifth inning.

However, Malibu scored 12 runs in the fifth inning as Gregson
struggled with control leading to five walks and two hit batters.

“We’ve been working a lot on no cheap swings,” said Malibu
coach Geoff Stern. “Until you get two strikes I don’t want to see defensive
swings.”

Purtell was dominant on the mound for Malibu through four
innings and had only surrendered one hit until back-to-back triples by Gregson
and Mancinelli with two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning cut the
Cardinals’ deficit to 16-2.

Miranda Alvarez followed with an infield single that brought
home Mancinelli, cutting the Bishop Diego deficit to 16-3. The next batter,
Naour doubled down the left field line driving in Alvarez to make the final
score 16-4.

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