Foothill proves resilient, captures softball opener

Committing six errors and leaving 12 runners on base wasn’t exactly what Tom Mayes hoped to see from his Foothill softball team on Thursday.

But season-opening games often are less about results and more about seeing players in different situations.

And that’s exactly what Mayes got on Thursday, along with a win.

The Falcons pounded out 15 hits, took advantage of seven walks and scratched across a run in the top of the seventh inning to collect a 9-8 win at Shadow Ridge.

“That’s what these early games are for, to see players in different situations,” Mayes said. “You want to play as many players as you can and get them into game situations because you can’t always get that in practice.”

The Falcons let an 8-4 sixth-inning lead slip away but won on Gabby Canibeyaz’s heads-up base running in the seventh.

Canibeyaz led off the inning with a single to right field and took second on a passed ball. She alertly raced to third on a one-out grounder to shortstop.

Canibeyaz scored when the return throw to the pitcher after a 1-and-1 pitch to Hunter Arboreen got away. The Mustangs nearly recovered in time to get Canibeyaz at the plate, but catcher Kylie Custer couldn’t control the ball after a slap tag to Canibeyaz’s head.

The Falcons had every opportunity to blow open the game early, stranding 10 runners in the first five innings.

“Our first group did a really good job. We’re OK at the bat,” said Mayes, who got 15 players into the game. “We need a couple of people to step up in some situations, but it’s a learning experience.”

Lauren Penksa, Madison Pike, Alex Petrolia, Chelsi Stewart and Canibeyaz each had two hits for Foothill.

Petrolia also was solid in the circle, allowing just four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

“That’s what we need from her,” Mayes said. “If she can stay healthy, we will be all right.”

Krislyn Campos had two hits for Shadow Ridge, including an RBI triple in the Mustangs’ four-run sixth inning.