Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Liberty catcher Camile Vestal makes the tag on a Lemoore runner during the fifth inning of Friday’s 5-3 loss.
The Liberty Hawks softball team seemed to have the game in hand, taking a 2-1 lead into the fifth inning.
However, three errors led to a four-run inning and gave the Lemoore Tigers a 5-3 victory Friday in Liberty’s home opener.
“Those are the easy plays,” first year head coach Steve Uyeda said. “It’s my fault because I’m moving people around. I’m not satisfied at a number of positions. I have so many pieces that I’m trying and that may have something to do with the mistakes. I’m trying to give a lot of time to the greener ones and it’s backfiring, at times.”
Liberty pitcher Ari Guzman tossed a complete game and scattered nine hits in the loss. She allowed five runs, but four were unearned. She also struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter.
“This was one of our better games,” Uyeda said. “We still haven’t found the right combination. We’re still learning these guys. We just went off their stats from last year. It was so lofty.”
Liberty only managed four hits and two of their three runs were unearned. Kaylan May drove in all three runs with two hits.
“I didn’t realize we were going to be so green game-wise than we are,” Uyeda said. “I thought with how many returners we had, we would be more competitive than we are with the higher echelon teams.”
Two innings after the Hawks left the bases loaded, Liberty took a two-run lead. Lead-off batter Breanna Burgess reached on an error. She went to second on a sacrifice. After a groundout, Guzman drew a four-pitch walk and pinch-runner Karli Fien stole second.
May hit a 2-2 pitch over the centerfielder’s head to drive in Fien and Burgess.
Lemoore cut the lead to one with three singles in the fourth inning.
The Tigers then took advantage of three Hawks’ errors to score four unearned runs. The key hit was a two-run double by the Lemoore clean up batter.
The Hawks pushed over a run in the bottom of the fifth when Brianna Melgoza doubled down the left field line. She went to second on an error and scored on May’s single to left.
However, the Hawks could only manufacture one run after the third inning despite leaving eight runners on base.