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Huskies contend for WYL crown

Hanford West third baseman Jordyn Macias gets ready for the play in the seventh inning of a West Yosemite League game against Hanford on April 5. Hanford West currently finds themselves contending for a WYL title.

NOE GARCIA, The Sentinel

Some teams are right where they want to be, others could improve and some are just flat out struggling. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in league play so far.

Softball

Hanford West

As definite contenders for the West Yosemite League crown, the Huskies have played like it. A perfect 4-0 in league so far, the Huskies have scored 36 runs, while only allowing five runs.

Nikki Antuna (4-0) has done an excellent job since taking over primary pitching duties. In 24 innings, she’s allowed three earned runs, struck out 18 and walked four.

Antuna’s pitching coupled with the Huskies plate discipline has been a recipe for success and led to a five-game winning streak. During their winning streak they’ve posted two shutouts and outscored opponents 54-7.

Hanford West junior Allison Heffley has really come on lately going 8-for-12 with a grand slam, 11 RBIs and four runs over her last three games. She’s upped her batting average to .500 and leads the team with 29 hits.

Hanford West (10-6, 4-0 WYL) has a game against Lemoore on Thursday. It’s their second of the week after a game against Redwood on Monday.

Hanford

The Bullpups (6-7-2, 2-2 WYL) scored a much-needed WYL victory over Mt. Whitney (5-12, 0-5 WYL) last week and will look to continue that momentum against Lemoore today.

After the Tigers, the week doesn’t get any easier with a second game against Redwood (12-5, 4-0 WYL) on Thursday. Redwood defeated Hanford 7-3 in their first meeting.

Sophomore Jenna Leavens leads the Bullpups with a .375 batting average (min. 40 plate appearances). Alyssa Cota, Isabella Perez and Mia Hernandez are also batting .300 or better.

Aryssa Danell has pitched 82.1 innings for the Bullpups and has been effective. She’s sporting a 2.21 ERA and has tossed two shutouts on the year. They’ll need her to be in top form for this week. Both games will be at home at 4 p.m. for the Bullpups.

Lemoore

The Tigers (9-11, 1-3 WYL) have struggled recently by losing six in a row, including their last two WYL games. They lost 11-9 to El Diamante and 19-15 to Golden West last week.

They’ll face rivals Hanford on Tuesday followed by Hanford West (10-6, 4-0 WYL) on Thursday.

Neither matchup will be an easy one. The Tigers have put up 37 runs in league, the second most by a team, but they’ve allowed 44 runs, also the second most in league. There’s plenty of contact, but it’ll come down to whether they can slow down opponents’ bats.

Sierra Pacific

It seems a tough preseason is paying dividends for the Golden Bears. Despite starting the season 0-7, the Golden Bears have played well when it counts.

Sierra Pacific, 7-13-1 overall, has won three of their last four games and is sitting in first with a 5-1 East Sequoia League record.

One through nine on their lineup is a nightmare for any ESL opponent. Kaitlin Thayer leads the team with a .593 batting average and Mikayla Hoggard is right behind her at .541.

They’ll face Lindsay (7-10, 4-2 ESL) on the road on Wednesday and Granite Hills (1-11, 1-5 ESL) at home on Friday. Both games are at 4 p.m.

Baseball

Hanford

After starting the WYL with a win, the Bullpups have dropped three in a row and fallen to fifth in the standings.

Hanford (5-10, 1-3 WYL) has struggled to score runs when needed and were shut out 2-0 against El Diamante last Thursday. The Bullpups have allowed 31 runs in league games, which is the second most after Golden West (35).

They have two games this week against Hanford West with the first at home today at 4:15 p.m. Hanford West has had its own struggles, so it’ll be either team’s game.

Hanford West

The Huskies (3-17, 1-4 WYL) have not had the kind of season anyone would want. With only three wins, it’s been a struggle.

Hanford West lost to Golden West 8-3 last week, but did pick up its third win in a non-league matchup against Dinuba 5-2. They’ll hope to pick up a win or two against Hanford this week starting today and then on Thursday.

Lemoore

Lemoore finds themselves in dead last in the WYL and with a 2-15 overall record.

They’ve lost all three of their league games, but have kept it close. They lost by a run to Hanford and then two and one runs to Redwood last week in two games.

Jack Foote has been a bright spot for the Tigers hitting .392 at the plate and holding a 1.38 ERA on the mound — both team highs. He also leads the team in runs (19), hits (20) and stolen bases (13).

Jared Holaday has also pitched well with a 2.47 ERA. He’s allowed 10 earned runs in 28.1 innings with 23 strikeouts and 16 walks.

The Tigers will see if they can string together some wins starting with two games against Mt. Whitney (9-8, 2-2 WYL) this week. The first is on the road and the second game is at home.

Sierra Pacific

The Golden Bears are sitting at the top of the ESL with a perfect 7-0 league record. They’ll want to keep it that way, but it could change with two games against second-place Corcoran this week.

The Panthers (10-8, 6-1 ESL) seem to be the only team that really poses a threat against Sierra Pacific. It won’t be easy since Sammy Springer will probably be on the mound.

The senior pitcher has allowed 12 earned runs in 49.2 innings, good for a 1.69 ERA and has a 7-1 record. He also has a 2.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Their lineup is loaded with guys who can put the barrel on the ball. Will Springer, Gavin Gamble and Sammy are all batting .410 or better. No one in their lineup is ever an easy out.

Sierra Pacific leads the ESL averaging 13 runs per game, while allowing the second fewest at 2.3 runs.

The Golden Bears have a home and then road game against Corcoran on Wednesday and Friday.

Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or ngarcia@hanfordsentinel.com. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.

Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Sentinel

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