Coronado softball coach Melissa Krueger had no idea what to expect from her team after a 10-day layoff.
In the back of her mind, the Cougars coach figured her team might make some mistakes Tuesday in its first game since March 29.
Instead, Coronado spent much of the afternoon forcing visiting Foothill into miscues and turned those into a 4-2 win in a key Southeast League game.
“I had no idea what to expect. I honestly expected us to be flat,” Krueger said. “I was pleasantly surprised with the intensity level they came out with.”
Coronado (13-8, 5-1 Southeast) played 20 games in the first 22 days of the season, but had only two optional practices during last week’s spring break.
They showed few signs of rust.
Danielle Amato tossed a four-hitter, and the Cougars committed just an inconsequential error on defense.
Meanwhile, the Cougars used plenty of small ball, running and bunting to cause chaos for the Falcons.
“We’re a different team than we were last year,” said Krueger, whose team slugged its way through most of last season. “I told people at the beginning of the season that I thought we would be a team that played the small-ball game.”
The Cougars used two stolen bases and a perfectly executed suicide squeeze by Alex Battest to take a 2-0 lead in the second inning. A Foothill error allowed the other run to score.
“We’re doing a lot of suicides, a lot of bunts, a lot of steals, and it’s effective for us right now,” Krueger said.
Coronado extended the lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning, scoring two runs on a wild throw by Foothill’s catcher.
Katie Cochran singled sharply to center to start the inning. Katie Dawson’s sacrifice bunt moved Cochran to second before Kiley Harrison reached on a Foothill error. With Cochran on third, Harrison attempted to steal second. The throw sailed into right-center field, and both runners scored.
“We’ve been taking advantage of mistakes,” Krueger said. “If you put the pressure on them, you’re going to win.”
Amato, after a bit of a wild start, was cruising along before Foothill (14-7, 4-2) finally mounted a two-out rally in the seventh inning. Lauren Penksa walked, and Palmer Bosanko singled to short right-center to put runners at the corners.
Hannah Stevens doubled down the line in left, scoring both runners, but Stevens was thrown out trying to take third on the throw home to end the game.