Losing by lopsided scores to more powerful teams from far bigger schools is part of the culture that a fair share of Coast Union’s student athletes must endure early every sports season. Coach Steve Kniffen’s softball team can certainly attest to the brutal struggles associated with these early games.
After losing their first three pre-Coast Valley League games to Templeton (25-0), Nipomo (25-4) and Santa Maria (16-1), Kniffen was asked if his players had become dispirited.
“Hell no,” was Kniffen’s immediate response after the loss to Templeton. “We’re Coast Union. We live in paradise. We are the winners. We just happened to lose a game to one of the best teams in the county.”
Kniffen tipped his cap to Templeton’s pitcher: “She was as good as I have ever seen. She was last year’s County Player of the Year.”
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The coach went on to explain that he isn’t concerned at this point about “winning and losing. Our objective is to have fun. I want the girls to learn to work together as a unit.”
Once the “learning” has reached a point where the team is truly bonding, Kniffen said, “We can learn softball.”
Kniffen has a roster of 15 players, including six seniors. His main concern: “Pitching is a soft spot.” The Lady Broncos’ next home game is March 13 against Mission Prep. The Coast Valley League season begins April 10 – Coast Union travels to Valley Christian Academy. The first home CVL game is April 20 vs. Cuyama Valley.
The desperately needed rainfall that the drought-weary community has yearned for visited Cambria last Thursday and Friday – much to the chagrin of Coast Union baseball coach Brian Machado.
Not that Machado is opposed to the moisture falling from the sky. Not at all. But he had hoped to get the first three home games of this season in the books.
Friday’s opening game was supposed to be against King City. Saturday’s doubleheader was scheduled to feature Orcutt Academy as the visiting team. But the rains came.
The Broncos hope to get their first home game completed Friday, March 9, against Washington Union – a team that also is scheduled to play the Broncos on Saturday, March 10.
The team plays at Laton on Thursday, March 8. Machado has posted his roster, featuring 18 players. Notable among the players – in addition to experienced senior pitchers Riley Kennedy and Chase Volz – is a strong contingent of sophomores.
Machado has three sophomores who made positive impressions last season: Nate Markham, Emany Plasencia and David Amodei.
Friday’s game against Washington Union begins at 3:30 p.m. It will be broadcast live on KTEA-FM (103.5). The game streams on www.1035ktea.com.