The memory of last season’s loss to Righetti was still fresh in the mind of Arroyo Grande senior pitcher Julie Lewis. Righetti scored two runs in the final inning of that game to pull out a 2-1 in over Arroyo Grande and go on to win the PAC 8 softball title.
On Wednesday in Arroyo Grande, Lewis made sure history didn’t repeat itself. The senior and Iowa State commit stuck out the side in the final inning, and Arroyo Grande held on for a 7-5 win to open PAC 8 play.
“This was huge,” Lewis said. “Last year we lost to Righetti in the seventh inning, and it was just devastating. So it was a big goal for me, my catcher and my team is just to finish out all the games.”
Lewis opened the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. Two batters later, Gabbi Loui followed it with a solo home run of her own to put Arroyo Grande up 2-0 heading into the third inning.
Righetti took a 3-2 lead on a bases-clearing double by Righetti junior Sicili Brittingham in the third inning, but Arroyo Grande’s Bri Giordano put the Eagles back in front 5-3 with a three-run home run.
“It all came down to the bat,” Arroyo Grande head coach John Welch said. “We had three home runs. That’s pretty tough to beat.”
Righetti was able to get runners into scoring position multiple times, including a bases-loaded situation in the top of the fifth inning, but each time Lewis and the Arroyo Grande defense was able to get out of the jam unscathed.
“I knew when I got in trouble I could count on my defense,” Lewis said. “We are such a senior-heavy team. There is no experience like that we haven’t gone through.”
Arroyo Grande took a 7-4 lead to the seventh inning when Lewis gave up a solo home run to the lead off batter. But she was able to maintain her composure to strike out the final three batters.
“She started the year last year hurt, and she is healthy this year, and it shows,” Welch said. “Every game she is just getting more and more confident. That is huge for us.”
Arroyo Grande (7-1, 1-0 PAC 8) has been hot of late and its win over Righetti will go a long way in its pursuit of a PAC 8 title. The Eagles will travel to take on Mission Prep (2-0) on Friday.
Paso Robles 10, St. Joseph 0 (Tuesday)
The Bearcats exploded for eight runs in the second inning en route to a win in the teams’ PAC 8 opener.
Paso Robles (4-5 overall, 1-0 PAC 8) collected 11 hits in the game. Nicole Raithel, Jasmine Smiley, Sophia Prieto all had multiple-hit games for the Bearcats, while Prieto and Linn each drove in two runs.
Alyssa Valle allowed two hits and struck out two in four innings to earn the win for Paso Robles, which next plays Friday against San Luis Obispo.
Templeton 3, Pioneer Valley 0
The Eagles won 25-18, 25-17, 25-20 on the strength of Chase Irwin’s 11 kills and three aces and Trevor Holmes’ 33 assists, five kills and five digs.
Templeton (5-10 overall, 2-2 Los Padres League) next plays Thursday at home against Santa Maria.
Morro Bay 3, Templeton 1 (Tuesday)
Morro Bay won the Los Padres League match 25-15, 19-25, 25-18, 27-25.
Holmes had 31 assists and six digs, and Irwin 14 kills and six digs in Templeton’s losing effort.