Yuba College softball sweeps twinbill over Mendocino
Chemistry coming together for 49ers
Talk to any member of the Yuba College softball team and they will say the same thing — though stacked with a bevy of local talent, the one thing the 49ers were lacking early this season was chemistry.
Putting aside their differences may have taken some time, but now those same players are saying that camaraderie is no longer an issue. Instead, it's a strength.
"We're playing as a team now, which is good," sophomore pitcher Rachel Quinn said. "We had some issues and didn't play together early, but we're finally coming together."
With their chemistry problems now fully resolved, the 49ers are playing their best ball of the season at the right time and opened their Bay Valley Conference schedule strong following a doubleheader sweep of Mendocino at home on Tuesday afternoon.
Quinn led the way for the 49ers by striking out 13 and allowing just three hits in a 6-1 victory in game one, and followed it up by going 2 for 3 with a home run, double and two RBIs, while pitching Yuba to an 8-3 win in game two.
The two victories evened the Niners' overall record at 9-9, and the 2-0 start to open conference play is a nice boost for a team that is looking to compete for the BVC title with the likes of College of Marin, Napa Valley College and seven-time defending champion Solano College.
"I'm pretty happy with the way we're coming around," said Yuba coach Stephanie Reynolds. "9-9 is one of the better records we've had coming into conference and we could've been better than that, and the girls know it.
"I'm pretty confident with our possibilities when it comes to conference and today shows why."
In game one, it was the dominant pitching of Quinn (River Valley High) and the hot bats of McKenzie Kraus (Marysville) and Taylor Crabb (Wheatland) that led the 49ers to an easy victory.
Kraus finished the opener 3 for 4 with a double and a pair of RBIs, while Crabb went 3 for 4 with an RBI as well. Quinn helped her own cause by going 2 for 4 with an RBI, Dylanne Brown (Lindhurst) was 1 for 2 with a triple and scored twice, and Maggie Ulman (Wheatland) drove in a pair of runs with a single in the bottom of the first as Yuba built a 6-0 lead by the fourth inning and never looked back.
In the second game, Quinn outdid herself when she belted an RBI double in the first inning and followed that up with a solo home run off the top of the fence in the third to ignite Yuba's offense.
Ulman finished a perfect 3 for 3 with an RBI, Brown went 2 for 4 with an RBI and Crabb was 2 for 4 for the 49ers, who tallied 13 hits in the second game after recording 10 in the opener.
"I feel like right now, we can all count on each other and if we make a bad play, we know someone else will pick us up," Ulman said. "We all have confidence in each other, and I think that affects the entire outcome of the game."
Shae Cooney (Yuba City) added a sacrifice fly and left-handed hitting Kraus continued to rip the cover the ball by delivering an RBI single in the first, while hitting the ball hard in each of her seven at-bats on the day.
"I'm working a lot harder. I changed my swing up a little bit and I've been waiting on the ball better," said Kraus, who batted clean-up in both games. "I've had a better pitch selection than I did before, and I'm getting the hang of it and making the most out of my last year here."
Quinn struck out eight and allowed nine hits to record the win, and said after the twinbill that the 49ers' tough nonconference schedule should be an asset for the team as they look to reach the playoffs for a second consecutive year.
"We played some good teams in the preseason and I think that helped us," she said. "We were a lot more confident. We played well last weekend, and we felt comfortable today."