Cambrian: Sports

Coast Union High’s inexperienced softball team off to a rough start

The Coast Union High School softball team’s preseason schedule has included some tough opponents from larger schools — as is often the case for the small Cambria school.

The Broncos are 0-6 coming into this week, following lopsided losses to Nipomo (24-1), Morro Bay (19-1), Greenfield (17-5) and twice to King City in a double-header (20-4, 22-3). Two reasons for the defeats head coach Steve Kniffen said — beyond the tough competition — is that several players have “no experience” and that his pitchers are “having trouble finding the strike zone.”

His most experienced starting pitcher is Serena Valenzuela, who still needs to “find her rhythm if we are to repeat as CVL champs,” Kniffen said.

The team has also been dealing with the heavy rain that has pounded the area, of which to Kniffen takes a philosophical approach.

“Rain is always welcome in Cambria, and we are working around it fairly well,” he said. “Our field is at the base of Taylor Mountain and acts as a collection area for Santa Rose Creek. We are playing in water we will later drink.”

Never known as a hard-core, high-intensity coach, Kniffen offered that he is “just trying to make a connection with the girls to the great game of baseball as a social tradition they can share with their families.”

His approach appears to be working because all 16 players show up to practice and they “seem to be having fun,” he added.

Kniffen’s team was scheduled to play host to Greenfield on Tuesday (late for publication) before going on the road for three straight games starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Orcutt Academy.

Coast Union begins play in the CVL with a noon home game against Coastal Christian on Saturday, March 16 — assuming the rain stays away and the field is in shape for softball.