San Marcos scored three runs in the first inning and Royals pitcher Kate Guerra and a stingy defense made sure it was enough in a 3-1 Channel League win over visiting Dos Pueblos Thursday.
Guerra gave up three hits and no earned runs in seven innings, walking two and striking out two. Those strikeouts ended the sixth and seventh innings.
In the bottom of the first, Gigi Gritt singled for San Marcos and freshman Gianna Mandarino came in as a courtesy runner for the catcher. An infield single by Caitlyn Early moved Mandarino to second, and she scored on a double by Kamilah Morales. With two outs, Gracie Verdugo doubled down the left field line, scoring Early and Morales.
Key San Marcos defensive plays included a tag at the plate by Gritt in the fourth inning, several running catches in center by Morales — robbing the Chargers’ Lacy Spear of extra bases on one in the gap — and in right by Emma Foster, including a rally-killing 9-3 putout in the fourth inning.
Cassandra Perez made 12 putouts at first, grabbing two line drives for outs and a scamper up the line to grab a popup near the fence.
On the plus side for Dos Pueblos, Georgia Wilson pitched well herself, giving up just two hits after the first inning.
The loss was the Chargers’ first in Channel League play, against six wins. San Marcos is now 7-2 in league play.
“Rivalry games are supposed to be a battle, and that game was certainly a battle,” said Dos Pueblos coach Mike Gerken. “Both pitchers did a great job. Georgia had them off balance and only gave up one hard-hit ball. We just got a little unlucky with those flares. Georgia made a lot of good pitches today. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but credit to SM, they played a really clean game.”
Verdugo led the Royals with two hits and two RBI.
“This was the first game we have had all 14 of our players healthy and available to play, and it was rewarding to be able to get most of those players into the game with each and every one contributing to the effort,” Royals coach Jeff Swann said.
San Marcos, now 8-6 overall, play in the Camarillo Tournaments Saturday, facing Agoura at 9 a.m. and Camarillo at 11 a.m.