Grant Gets First Win of the Year at Van Nuys

The Van Nuys High School Wolves softball team hosted the Grant High School Lancers in their 2023 season home opener in a non-league game Monday afternoon. Both schools were seeking their first win of the young season coming in with three games played between them. Offense and pitching have been two of the main areas of concern to start the year for both sides. Grant entered Monday with a record of 0-2 scoring one run and giving up 39, while Van Nuys mustered one run and conceded 21 in their one and only game of the year. In what seemed like an even match on paper, the outcome proved why the games must be played. Grant got off to a fast start to beat the Lancers 24-4, in a game stopped early after the 5th inning.

The Lancers used a gigantic first inning to coast to their first victory of the season. Grant was able to put their offensive woes behind them as they rattled off an eye-popping 15 runs in the first inning. Using aggressive base running and picky pitch selection the visitors took advantage of the miscues from the Wolves and put the home team in danger of the run rule within just one half-inning. The explosive inning was capped off by senior captain Victoria Ibarra’s two-run single to push the score to 15-0. The bleeding stopped when a Lancer base runner left second base early, providing an out on technicality for the Wolves, bringing the high scoring inning to an end. In the bottom of the first Grant showed that they could defend just as well as they could run the bases. Victoria Ibarra turned a double play from her first base position for the first two outs of the inning, after a lead-off walk. Senior pitcher Madisyn Gonner delivered a strikeout for out number three as the Lancers moved on to the second inning without giving up a run. In the second, the Wolves turned to their freshmen captain short-stop Gabriela Martinez for some stability at the pitcher position and she was able to provide just that. She delivered one strikeout and surrendered only two runs in the inning to get a little momentum for her team. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Gonner and the Lancers delivered another shutout inning to keep the score at 0 for Van Nuys. The Wolves finally got on the board in the third inning against backup pitcher Natalie Quinones. After a few runs walked in, the talented freshman Martinez delivered an RBI single to give the home crowd something to cheer about. Although the Wolves were more competitive with Martinez on the mound, the combination of Gonner’s pitching and the Lancer’s aggressive base running proved to be too much for the home team to handle. Grant was able to dominate the rest of the game and finish with a grand total of 24 runs to the Lancer’s 4. Monday’s win should act as a springboard for the Lancers as many girls were able to get playing time and contribute. Coach Lauren Kaminski was proud of her group after the game and optimistic for the rest of their season. “This was a program win. It was very uplifting and exciting to see all our girls getting playtime and making plays out there for us. I have young players but high expectations because they work extremely hard, and I was happy they got to show that and experience success today”. The win on Monday moves the Lancers to 1-2 on the season. Next on the calendar is a date with Verdugo Hills on Wednesday, March 15th. As for the Wolves, the loss on Monday marks the second in as many games and their record now sits at 0-2 for the season. Van Nuys will take on Monroe at home in another non-league clash on March 8th.

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