The Palo Alto High School softball team is steadily improving after a slow start, rising from last place in the league to third. The team currently holds a 4-3 record within the league and a 5-11 overall record. Their most recent league game victory was a close fought match that ended in a 8-7 win over the crosstown rival, Henry M. Gunn High School.
Paly started off slow, trailing by two runs after the first inning. However, the Vikings quickly caught up and surpassed Gunn, with five runs in the third inning, the lead that allowed them to clinch the win.
“We were relaxed even though we knew we were playing our rivals and we wanted to avenge our previous loss,” senior captain Jesse Kim said. “Our team has also gotten closer and everyone has learnt how to work well with each other, knowing strengths and weaknesses.”
Another key league victory came against Fremont High School. Although it was a difficult game, the girls managed to come out with a win. For her outstanding performance, Kim was selected as Player of the Game.
As the Vikings make their way up the league leaderboard, the girls gained confidence. Nevertheless, their recent victories should not overshadow potential areas of improvement. In the game before their win against Fremont, Paly lost in an away game against Silver Creek High School.
The Vikings trailed Silver Creek by five runs early on. Paly was able to tally its first and only run of the game in the second inning, but was ultimately unable to rally against its tough opponent, and lost with a score of 13-1. This match demonstrated a need for the less experienced players to quickly adapt to varsity level ball.
“We’ve done more practice regarding hitting to really hone down on mechanics, but especially for those who are new to varsity, just seeing pitchers of all speeds and spins can really help,” Kim said. “We’ve also added some new hitting stations to really focus on seeing the ball and where it makes contact with the bat.”
For the final stretch of the season, the Vikings have a series of important yet difficult games ahead of them, with five more league matches coming up. In order to make a successful late season push, the girls now need to win against Santa Clara High School and Mountain View High School, tough teams that are both currently ranked above Paly in their league. Though it may seem like a daunting task, the girls are confident that they will be able to overcome any difficulties and ultimately extend their season.
“I know that our team is definitely able to do well in the second half of leagues, as long as team dynamics are strong and we don’t stress too much about errors,” Kim said. “No team is going to be 100 percent error free and what I love about this team is that no one lingers too long on a mistake… you have to shake it and you’re back in the game.”