The Coast Union softball team ended its season-opening losing streak with a shutout against Avenal High School on Friday, March 17, at Coast Union. Ani Corbet handled the pitching chores for Coast, and “she got stronger as the game went on,” said coach Steve Kniffen.
The score was 13-0, and Kniffen said he is “very proud that the players show up every day and don’t engage in whining or complaining.”
Kniffen said the team was justifiably pumped up to end the losing streak, and Ailyn Casas, with “great eye-hand coordination,” ripped a pair of doubles for the Lady Broncos. That effort deserved special notice, Kniffen said, because Casas was coming back from “taking a fly ball square in the face last week.”
Because of their early season struggles, Kniffen gave the team two days off at the beginning of last week, “so they were good to go. We have been pushing hard … , (practicing) two hours after school most days and three hours on Wednesday.”
Still, several players “still don’t understand the rules and nuances of the game,” the coach said. He added: “We have to work on making our efforts at practice more productive, but it’s coming.”
One of the aspects of the game of softball that Kniffen is emphasizing is having hitters know what they will do once in the batter’s box.
“I am pounding the idea of ‘approach’ to them,” he said in an email interview.
At this point, several younger, inexperienced players “can’t fathom why you might take a pitch, let alone waiting to take a strike,” Kniffen explained. “I am trying to teach them,” he concluded.
The next home game is 3:30 p.m. Wednesday against Laton High.