Tokay High softball coach Aaron Misasi was hoping that his squad would become more aggressive at the plate sooner in Tri-City Athletic League action instead of later.
On Thursday, the Tigers’ bats came to life at the right time against their cross-town rivals Lodi at the Lodi Softball Complex. That led to Tokay breaking open a close game into a 9-6 Tri-City Athletic League victory over Lodi.
The last time Tokay beat Lodi in softball was exactly two years ago — March 29, 2017 — when Tokay posted a 6-3 win. Lodi had won the last five times — each of the six TCAL schools play the other schools three times.
“It’s a nice win,” Misasi said. “We lost quite a few games in a roll. It’s nice to pick up the win.”
In the top of the third inning, Lodi held a 4-3 lead. But the Tigers’ bats cranked out five hits. The biggest hit came from Mia Misasi (3-for-4 and four RBIs), who tripled deep to the left field fence. Misasi sprinted toward first and second bases and sped up to third base to beat the throw to Lodi third baseman Kayleigh Coberly.
Tiger teammates Hannah Hauschildt, Simone Medeiros, Kayly Pau and Chloe Alaniz each had a single in the inning. That led to Tokay (1-3 in the TCAL, 4-7) taking an 8-4 lead.
“They came back and manufactured runs almost every inning,” said Aaron Misasi. “We talked to them about ‘hey you have to be aggressive at the plate,’ attack the ball before you get to two strikes.”
Lodi (2-2 in the TCAL, 5-2), which stranded eight runners in the game, got two runners on the base paths in the bottom of the inning without a hit. Coberly and Marissa Fabian were issued back-to-back walks with one out. But two grounders cooled the Flames’ scoring chances.
“We’re leaving too many runners on base,” said Lodi coach Michelle Souza. “We can hit the ball, get runners on. The next batters have to do their job. We cannot leave that many runners on base.”
The score remained 8-4 until the bottom of the fourth. That’s when Lodi cranked out three hits; singles from Andrea Lira and Johnna Schroeder, plus Danielle Pfenning hitting a double to left field. Add Shelby Katzakian’s sacrifice fly, and the Flames trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 8-6.
But the final three innings saw Lodi produce only one hit — a single to left field by Ashlee Toy, who went 2-for-4 and two RBIs.
Tokay pitcher Megan Walker watched her defense record the next nine outs; seven pop flys and two ground outs.
“We started to play solid defense and our pitcher threw great,” Misasi said. “The kids played defense after the first. The girls played great.”
Tokay scored its final run in the top of the sixth. Emily Walker singled to left field, moved to second base on a grounder and third on Katherine Jackson’s single and scored on Rachel Gibbons’ fielder’s choice.
In the top of the first inning, Tokay jumped out to a 2-0 lead with one out. Hannah Hauschidt reached first base on an error while attempting to bunt and Medeiros doubled. Each scored on grounder and double by Megan Walker.
But Lodi responded in the bottom of the inning on three hits. Lira, a freshman, and Pfenning singled. Katazakian doubled to right-center field that drove home Lira and Pfenning to five the Flames a 4-2 lead.
“Every inning, we got to get better,” said Souza, regarding the Flames’ scoring opportunities. “We did. But now we’ve got to be disciplined at the plate, and that’s not what we did today.”
The Tigers scored their third run in the top of the second. Misasi produced her first hit — a double down the third base line that also had her rounding first base and sped toward second base that she reached before the relay throw came back into the infield. She touched home plate on Medeiros’ single to left field.
Tokay finished with 14 hits in the game, and stranded nine on the base paths. Behind Mia Misasi and
Lodi had 10 hits. Lira went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Schroeder was 2-for-3. The Flames’ first five batters went a combined 10-for-19.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.