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Warden sweeps Royal in softball doubleheader

by CHERYL SCHWEIZER
Staff Writer | May 1, 2024 3:18 PM

WARDEN — Warden High School softball coach Randy Wright said Tuesday’s doubleheader sweep of the Royal High School Knights was the performance he wanted to see with one week left in the regular season. Warden came from behind to take the first game 9-8 in extra innings and won the second game 7-3. 

“That’s the sort of thing I was looking for,” Wright said.

Royal scored two runs in the first inning of the first game, three in the second inning and three in the third, but were shut out the rest of the game. The Knights used a string of singles by Adalynn Anderson, Raegan Wardenaar and Jill Allred to push the lead to 4-1 in the top of the second and a double by Audrey Bergeson to add to their lead in the third. 

Warden’s Jamylex Pruneda hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to cut Royal’s lead to 8-5, which was the score going into the bottom of the seventh — and last — inning. 

The Cougars loaded the bases with one out, and Royal pitcher Jill Allred walked in a run. A base hit by Warden’s Valerie Rodriguez scored two runs and sent the game into extra innings. 

Royal went down in order in the top of the eighth inning, and Pruneda hit a short fly ball that fell in right field to send in the winning run.

“It was good to see them really battle,” Wright said. “That’s the sort of thing that makes the team better.”

Royal coach Lisa Lawrence said the Knights look for tough opponents, and Warden fits that description. Warden and Royal players have been competing against and with each other as long as they’ve been playing softball, she said. 

“Warden is a team we love to play,” she said.

The teams are pretty evenly matched, Lawrence said, and this time Warden took the wins.

“I think we learned a lot,” Lawrence said.

Bergeson’s single drove in a run to give Royal a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the second game. Warden took the lead for good when Rodriguez hit a home run with one on base in the bottom of the second inning; the Cougars scored five runs in the second inning.

Royal’s Jill Allred hit a solo home run in the third, the last Royal score. Brianna Martinez hit a solo homer in the sixth for Warden.

Wright said the Cougars had a rocky start to the season, but as it’s progressed have improved communication with each other, especially on defense, and started to gain confidence in their hitting. That increase in confidence showed in the hitting in the first game, he said.

“They started believing in themselves,” he said.

Both teams finish the regular season with a pair of doubleheaders next week. Wright said he expects Warden to be the top seed going into the district tournament, which brings with it the possibility of two home playoff games.

Lawrence said the Knights’ games will determine the winner of the South Central Athletic Conference East championship. 

“They’re very important games for us,” she said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.

Box scores

Game 1
RYL: 2-3-3-0-0-0-0-0 8
WRD: 1-0-0-2-2-0-3-1  9

Game 2
RYL: 1-0-1-1-0-0-0 3
WRD: 0-5-0-0-1-1  7


    The Royal softball team gathers as JIll Allred (6) crosses home plate after her solo home run against Warden.
 
 
    Warden Coach Randy Wright, right, gives a high-five to Valerie Rodriguez (10) as she rounds third after a home run.
 
 
    Warden first baseman Genisis Ozuna (25) takes the throw from Miranda Martinez (21).
 
 
    A Royal player slides into second during the Knights doubleheader with Warden.
 
 
    Warden’s Jamylex Pruneda hit a blooper that fell for the winning run against Royal Tuesday.