MHS softball capitalizes on Viewpoint weaknesses, winning 16-9

The Malibu High School softball team benefited from their opponent’s poor play and beat the Viewpoint Patriots, 16-9, on Thursday, March 12.

Although the Sharks won and improved to a 1-1 record, coach Mark Cooley said the team needs to make a lot of improvements.

“The score didn’t dictate what we earned out there as far as runs go,” Cooley said.

Six players on the softball team have never played the sport before, something that Cooley said will be a problem going forward.

“We have to get these newer kids who have never played ball before to understand the game at a more advanced level,” Cooley said.

Junior pitcher Molly Gallagher recorded two strikeouts, and is also the team’s best hitter, Cooley said.

“She’s probably our best all-around utility player,” Cooley said. “She’ll fill any spot that we need.”

Thursday’s game was back and forth for the first few innings, but in ugly fashion.

Viewpoint started scoring right off the bat. With one out and runners on second and third, the Patriots smacked a pitch down the third-base line for an RBI. The next hitter also batted in a run.

But abysmal pitching, throwing and catching by Viewpoint helped Malibu steal bases and get into scoring position. A wild pitch from Viewpoint allowed junior center fielder Hali Norris to score, knotting the game at 2.

Then junior Rachel McConnell popped the ball into right field, but the Patriots were unable to catch it, leading to a run by Gallagher, and a 3-2 lead.

But Viewpoint came back with a vengeance, and quickly. In the top of the second with two outs, a Patriot pummeled a pitch into deep center, bringing in four runs and taking a 6-3 lead.

The Sharks pulled to within one in the bottom of the second, but didn’t need to hit the ball. The Viewpoint pitching was incredibly off target, and two wild pitches led to a 6-5 score.

After the first two innings, Malibu’s field play got better, and the Sharks were able to retire Viewpoint’s possessions in only three or four batters.

Viewpoint switched pitchers in the bottom of the third, but it didn’t help. She walked most of the Malibu batters, and with the bases loaded and no outs, sophomore outfielder Tania Moran flied out, but freshman Sydney Stern scored, tying the game at 6.

With runners on second and third in the bottom of the fourth, McConnell grounded a ball down the middle and earned an RBI. After that, another bad infield throw by the Patriots led to a run for Malibu.

The Sharks ended the inning with a 10-6 lead after an RBI by junior catcher Emma Gallagher. Malibu won the game easily after that with stronger hitting and even more stolen bases.

Cooley said the team would have a successful season if they finished with at least a .500 record.

“The school has never been .500 in softball ever,” Cooley said. “That would be the goal. Reach .500 and make CIF.”