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It was a beautiful day in the Bay Area on Saturday, and apparently it was the perfect day to have a pitchers duel on the softball diamond. Izzy Epstein of Piedmont and Charlize Pope of El Cerrito put on a show. Ultimately, Pope and the Gauchos would come away with the 1-0 victory over Piedmont.
Pitching and defense was the story of Saturday’s contest in Piedmont. Pope and Epstein combined to just give up one run and 10 hits through all seven innings. In the second inning, a walk came back to haunt Piedmont and set up the game’s lone score. A single in the gap by Ella Monteleone would plate Katie Hennig for the first and only score.
Piedmont had its fair share of opportunities to plate a run in this game. However, Pope and the Gaucho defense seemed to come up big every single time. In the first inning, Epstein was stranded at third base after a Pope strikeout. In the bottom of the third inning, Piedmont had a runner on third with nobody out, and Pope went strikeout, strikeout and then a great defensive play caught Leah Bell trying to steal home.
That was not the end of the opportunities either. In the very next inning, Piedmont would have two runners on and one of them being on third again. El Cerrito once again picked off the runner at third, and then a pop out would end that threat in the fourth inning. The Gauchos consistently found ways to keep Piedmont from crossing the plate.
Some great defensive plays kept Piedmont from even a chance in the fifth inning, and then in the sixth inning Chiara Lundin hit a shot to left field. What looked like it was going to hit off the wall and give Piedmont a two out rally turned into an incredible catch by junior Ella Bergstrom. Once again the score stayed at 1-0 heading into the seventh.
The Gauchos offense did not get a whole lot going against Epstein either. Epstein would end the day with eight strikeouts and one unearned run. She pitched great, but Pope just came away with the edge in the pitchers duel, allowing zero runs and four hits while striking out seven.
Piedmont has had some dominant wins on the year, but this was a tough loss where it didn’t give up any earned runs on the day and missed a multitude of opportunities to score throughout the game. For El Cerrito, it moves to 6-5 on the season after starting out 1-3. It will look to continue its strong play against California on Monday.
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