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Vikings 2-2 at Warner Softball Tournament

Vallecitos Elementary School finished the April 28 Warner Softball Tournament in Warner Springs with a 2-2 record.

"We did okay," said Vallecitos coach Ray Hanbeck. "The games that we lost, they were close."

Vallecitos had 12 boys and only five girls, so the Vikings had a co-ed team which played in the boys division. Pauma Elementary School also had a co-ed team. Cottonwood Elementary School (Aguanta), Borrego Springs Middle School, Julian Junior High School, and Warner Middle School (Warner Springs) had both boys and girls teams.

The Warner Softball Tournament was played on the Warner Unified School District athletic fields across State Route 79 from the elementary school, middle school, and high school campus. The games lasted four innings or 30 minutes, although the full inning was allowed to be completed if the 30 minutes had elapsed.

A team was limited to five runs in their batting half of the inning. The teams pitched to their own batters; schools could either utilize a student or a faculty member as the pitcher. Each team had 10 players on the field. Each of the six boys or co-ed teams played four of the other five opponents while each of the four girls teams played one opponent twice and the rest of the other teams once apiece.

Vallecitos began the tournament with a 7-6 loss to Warner. "We did score in the final inning, but we didn't score enough," Hanbeck said.

The Vikings scored once in that final inning against the Wildcats.

Both the Julian Junior High girls and the Timberwolves boys took first place in the Warner Softball Tournament. Julian's boys obtained a 14-7 victory over Vallecitos.

"Julian was more dominant and we just had some critical times when the kids misplayed a ball on defense," Hanbeck said.

The Vikings' first win was against Cottonwood and had an 11-1 score. "We had a strong hitting performance and a good defense," Hanbeck said.

Pauma lost a 13-3 game to Julian and 10-6 contests against Borrego Springs and Warner prior to facing Vallecitos. The Vikings were on the preferred end of the 5-3 final score in the game with Pauma.

"We did better on our offense and our defense," Hanbeck said.

Julian took first place with a 4-0 record. Borrego Springs and Warner both had 3-1 records with the Bobcats (Borrego Springs and Pauma both have that nickname) accounting for Warner's loss. In the event two teams who do not play each other tie for a position, runs differential determines the higher-placing team, and the Bobcats also had that advantage for second place over the Wildcats.

The 2-2 record gave Vallecitos fourth place. "We couldn't get the timely hits in the first two games like we did in the last two," Hanbeck said. "We had a lot of kids on base and we couldn't bring them in."

The six schools began practicing softball after the March 14 cross country meet Cottonwood hosted was completed. Spring Break and rain limited the number of practices.

"We didn't have everybody here for the first two practices," Hanbeck said. "That affects the ability to play as a team."

The 2022-23 Vikings placed second at the Warner Softball Tournament. "Last year we had a lot more breaks going our way," Hanbeck said.

The schools will close out 2023-24 competition with the Julian Junior High Invitational Track Meet which will be held at the Julian High School stadium and is scheduled for May 16.

Author Bio

Joe Naiman, Writer

Joe Naiman has been writing for the Village News since 2001


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