Hernandez shines as Sanger softball stymies Reedley

Sophomore pitcher posts 2-hit shutout as Apaches erupt late to roll to 9-0 victory, County Metro opener next week against San Joaquin Memorial

Sanger High’s Arianah Cardoso slides under the tag of Reedley High’s Jocelyn Fonseca during the first inning of the Apaches’ 9-0 shutout victory over the Pirates on April 3 at SHS varsity field. Sophomore Cardoso went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a run batted in. (Jon Earnest)
Sanger High’s Arianah Cardoso slides under the tag of Reedley High’s Jocelyn Fonseca during the first inning of the Apaches’ 9-0 shutout victory over the Pirates on April 3 at SHS varsity field. Sophomore Cardoso went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a run batted in. (Jon Earnest)
Jon Earnest
Published April 4, 2024  • 
11:00 am

SANGER – The Sanger High softball team is getting its game back together in a big way as the County Metro Athletic Conference season draws closer.

Sophomore pitcher Emma Herbnandez returned from an injury to pitch a two-hitter with six strikeouts, and the Apaches’ offense collected 12 hits in an efficient performance to post a 9-0 victory over Reedley High in a non-league matchup Wednesday afternoon at Sanger High diamond. Sanger (12-5) won its second straight after a brief holiday week slump, while the Pirates (10-8) dropped their final game before opening Tri-County Conference Sequoia Division play.

“I’m really pleased with our offense and all the teamwork,” said Sanger head coach Erica Pennington. “The (sacrifice bunts show) that we are trying to stress not to be selfish. Sierra (Wyrick) had two of them today, and it was great. She did her job, got people in (position) and the rest of the lineup picked us up.”

That was more than enough support for Hernandez, who only allowed a pair of singles to the Pirates’ Jamilah Taylor while not allowing two on base in any single inning. The Sanger offense scored two runs in the first and second innings, then made it a rout with five-run outburst in the sixth.

Hernandez helped her own cause by lining a two-run double in the sixth, while senior first baseman Alyssa Martinez had three hits including an RBI triple in the second inning and two-run single in the sixth. Sophomore catcher Ariana Cardoso was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one of three Sanger stolen bases.

Sanger High pitcher Emma Hernandez flashes a smile as she’s congratulated by teammates following a 9-0 shutout victory over Reedley High on April 3. The sophomore righthander returned to the lineup from an injury and finished with a complete game two-hitter while striking out six. (Jon Earnest)

Sanger opens CMAC play on Tuesday, April 9 with a 3:30 p.m. home game against San Joaquin Memorial (4-6) followed by a Friday, April 12 game in Sanger against Justin Garza High (7-4). First, the Apaches close non-league play with a 4 p.m. Friday, April 5 clash against Division I power Clovis North (11-4) .

Pennington is hoping for a quick CMAC start next week, which would give the Apaches’ a jump toward contending for the conference championship.

“The league is strong,” Pennington said. “We always fight for second or third (place), and I think this team is capable of stepping up.”

Reedley coach David Camp is trying to find the ideal roster mixture to put the Pirates in its ideal position to contend for the Tri-County Sequoia title, starting with a 6:30 p.m. home game April 9 against Hanford West.

“It’s a challenge finding those pieces, and putting them all in place to get that clear picture of what we want (to accomplish). I think we’re getting there,” he said of his players. “I think that everybody, given the opportunity, can do just as well as anybody else, which is a good problem for us to have.”.

Senior pitcher Sierra Hallum settled down after a rocky first two innings to carry the Pirates through the middle innings, but the offense struggled to string together offense against Hernandez. Still, Reedley has momentum entering TCC play after posting a third place finish in the Fowler Easter Classic.

Reedley followed the Hanford West game with a Friday, April 12 road contest at Selma High (7-9). The Pirates are grouped in the TCC Sequoia Division with Hanford West, Sierra Pacific, Selma and Kingsburg. Fellow Reedley school Immanuel High is the Pirates’ crossover opponent for two games this season (April 23 and May 10).

Jon Earnest
Reporter