HANFORD — The mercy rule exists for days like Wednesday.
Sierra Pacific and Strathmore faced off for the second time this year and just like the first time, the Golden Bears won big — really big. The final was 21-3 in five innings. The first time the two teams met, the Golden Bears won 24-0 in five innings.
The Golden Bears (6-13-1, 4-1 ESL) had 15 hits with all nine players getting a hit in the East Sequoia League matchup. Outfielder Mikayla Hoggard was perfect at the plate with a 4-for-4 performance. She had a season-high six RBIs and tied her season-high in runs with four.
“We’re really solid we just have to keep our heads in it,” Hoggard said. “We can go far in playoffs if we keep ourselves going."
It was Sierra Pacific’s third time scoring 20 or more runs this season and moved them into a tie for first in the East Sequoia League with Lindsay. The Golden Bears have won three of their last four games.
“Their hitting’s coming around from the first couple games,” Sierra Pacific coach Victor Chavarin said. “They’re hitting consistently. One starts it and they all continue.”
That was no more apparent than in the first inning when Sierra Pacific jumped out to a 10-0 lead. The team had eight hits in the first, including two walks. Hoggard doubled and singled, outfielder Lauren Simas tripled, second baseman Bryn Frauenheim doubled and four others singled.
The inning ended with Chavarin instructing one of his players to intentionally step off the base for the third out. They would do it again in the third. For Chavarin, he said it’s about good sportsmanship.
The Golden Bears added another six runs in the second, four more in the third and the last run in the fourth. First baseman Arianna Chavarin went 3-for-3 with two RBIs, three runs and a walk. Catcher Kaitlin Thayer collected an RBI on three hits.
Thayer currently leads the Golden Bears with a .620 batting average and 18 RBIs well as 13 doubles. She’s tied for the team-lead in hits (31) with Hoggard and is second in runs (25).
Hoggard leads the team with 28 runs, seven triples and is second with 17 RBIs. Four players are batting .315 or better (min. of 50 plate appearances).
“We’re getting to the point where we’re meshing,” Chavarin said. “Everybody knows what they have to do in front of each other. They’re all having fun now.”
In the circle, pitcher Lauren Alarcon has been nothing short of dominant. She pitched five shutout innings in Wednesday’s game, struck out six and allowed two hits.
In 53 innings this year, the fastball, screwball and changeup hurler has allowed 14 earned runs, three extra-base hits (all doubles) and has a 3.82 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
“After my pitch, if I mess up, I just think of the errors I did and fix them,” Alarcon said. “Usually everything works, but [on Wednesday] I especially hit my changeups.”
Chavarin said Alarcon is becoming more focused and loving the game more. He can only imagine what the future holds for her. “It’s just looking up for her,” he said.
“She’s getting into that routine where she knows that she can dominate a game,” Chavarin said. “I think she’s probably the best pitcher in our league that I’ve seen so far. I haven’t seen anybody like her.”
Sierra Pacific has a road game against Corcoran (7-9-1, 4-2 ESL) today at 4 p.m. The Golden Bears defeated the Panthers 7-6 on a walk-off single on Monday. Corcoran will look to rebound after losing to Woodlake on Wednesday 14-13.