Katie Perry and Bailee Crawford are headed in opposite directions as they advance around the bases at a recent softball match. Photo by Morgan Orgeron
The AHS varsity softball team has had a successful 2019 season, and at press time was tied with Paso Robles High School for first in the league.
This year the team has six seniors: Taylor Herzig, Claire Lohayza, Gaby Hinzo, Katie Perry, Bailee Crawford and Shelby Moody. “These girls have been on varsity for three years and are a big part of the success we have had the last two years,” said coach Darin Traverso.
The seniors are the starting players in each game, and juniors Bailey Doherty and Riley Jones are displaying good success with their field and batting. Doherty is one of the best pitchers in the league with 15 wins this year.
Lohayza is the catcher, and according to Traverso, the most exciting plays occur when she picks base runners off after they get a hit. Lohayza’s personal goals for the rest of the season are keeping her batting average up and helping her teammates out behind the plate. “As team captain, I have learned that everyone’s playing style is different, and everyone needs different types of motivation,” Lohayza said. “The best part is the family feeling that the team brings. I have been most proud of the way we play together.”
The softball season has picked up speed from a slow start, and so far has been filled with wins and encouraging prospects. The team recently played in a tournament in Santa Maria on Apr. 13 and 14 where they won three and lost one very close game (2-1) against Golden Valley High School, a team that has lost only twice so far. Doherty shined during this tournament, hitting three home runs in four games.
The Hounds also won 4-2 against Righetti on Apr. 16 and beat Arroyo Grande 5-1 on Apr. 9 during a home match. Atascadero made one run in the first inning, three in the second, and one in the third. The Hounds did encounter a loss against Paso Robles on Apr. 4, walking away with one run in the sixth inning against Paso’s five runs. However, they won against St. Joseph on Apr. 2 with a score of 7-1. Atascadero made one run in the second inning, two in the third, three in the fourth, and one in the fifth.
“I feel that this team has done very well this season and I’m most proud of how headstrong, and motivated this team is,” said Moody. “From being a part of this team, I have learned to never lose hope, and to have confidence and trust within myself.”
Traverso was also proud of how the team has progressed. “The girls have really improved with their team communication on the field when we are on defense,” said Traverso. “Our outfield, led by our senior Gaby Hinzo, has made the biggest improvement this season by covering all the ground and backing each other up.”
Earlier in the season during March, the Hounds already had a successful start. Atascadero beat San Luis Obispo 6-0 on Mar. 26 and won 11-2 against Righetti on March 22. The Hounds beat Templeton 7-0 on Mar. 19 with runs in five of the seven innings. Unfortunately, Atascadero lost at a home tournament 6-5 against Whittier Christian on Mar. 16, but also beat Ridgeview High School on the same day 8-0. The same tournament yielded two wins for the Hounds on Mar. 15, beating Amador 8-1 and Independence High School 4-0. The previous day, Atascadero won 5-0 against Arroyo Grande and 1-0 against Paso Robles.
“[Our] biggest thing to overcome is staying healthy and hungry,” said Traverso. He aims to win league and qualify for CIF playoffs, which he says would be attainable if the team continues to perform as they have been. His goals for the team are to keep it fun, improve with each game, stay motivated and be ready to play in May.
“I am proud of how the team has come together as friends and athletes to continue the success AHS varsity softball has had over the years,” Traverso said. “I am truly happy for their success on the field as well as the young women they are becoming off the field.”