Despite Injuries Culver Softball Doing Fine
By Fred Altieri
The 2014 Culver City High softball team's season is transitioning into league action following a successful 6-3 non-league start including tournament play.
But the team has had to also deal with injuries to its pitching staff as of late. Notably, the number one pitcher is out for the rest of the regular season.
Head coach John Sargent gave his assessment following last week's league home opener against Hawthorne High.
"I have a young club. I have two seniors and possibly four juniors and some lower classmen. They've been doing a great job. I'm really proud of their efforts in the early going and now into our league play. They've shown a lot of strength defensively.
"We had our number one pitcher, Jessica Faber, during the course of our non-league play. We happened to be in St. Monica High's tournament and we ended up making it to the championship game, losing to St. Monica, 2-1.
"Then we ended up losing Jessica Faber for the rest of the league season. Breana Dunlap filled in for the number two spot and we were doing pretty well at 5-3. With Faber down it's hitting us hard, psychologically as well as physically."
The Centaur pitching staff took another hit in last week's opening league game loss to Hawthorne, 12-6. Sargent continued: "Now, Breana Dunlap, our number two pitcher is injured. Our pitching staff is pretty banged up at this point. But these kids are fighters and troopers. That's why I'm proud of them because of the effort they've put out."
"Imani Bell, my third-string pitcher, is now my starting pitcher. She gives us all that she can and that's a plus. We just have to get our defense behind her and make some plays as well as the offense getting key hits.
"Breana was in a lot of pain that game. We gave up all those runs and it was tough trying to get them back. We also committed a lot of errors. But the players realize what we have to do defensively and offensively to make this team work.
"Tomorrow we're at home against Morningside, Wednesday we're on the road against Inglewood and Thursday we're at home against Beverly Hills. So we have some key matchups if we're talking about being competitive in league."
Sargent went over the team's current lineup: "Imani Bell, sophomore, is in the circle. We're trying to get her confidence up in that circle. I know she can do it. Behind the plate we have a four year starter, Lisa Kamba. She's leading our team in home runs with about six or seven.
"At first base we have sophomore, second year player, Sabrina Perez. At second base we have sophomore Melody Rodriguez. Melody's doing an outstanding job offensively and defensively. At third base we have a freshman, the kid's going to be outstanding, Natalie Capa."
"In left field we have a third year player, a strong arm, she has a good bat and started out on fire, Alex Thomas, a junior. We have a freshman center fielder, Mary Bilbao, who's doing a good job. In right field we have a freshman left hander, Mariko Rooks, who's also doing a good job as well as our shortstop, a junior, Lissa Serna. We also have a sophomore, first year player, Dominique Powell. I'm sure she's going to crack the lineup."
The program is looking forward according to Sargent: "The girls have been playing really good softball. When Jessica went down it showed what we have to do now. We have to come to the forefront where we're a little tougher to make this work.
"The future looks bright and if the girls continue to play hard we'll be fine. I tell the girls: "When your time is called, you need to step up." And those girls did just that. Again, this team, I'm really proud of them."