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Sharks cap off season with 5-4 win
The Malibu High School softball team ended its season on high note on Thursday, May 15, with a close 5-4 victory over Villanova Prep.
Looking to overcome a 13-3 loss to Saint Bonaventure on May 13, the Sharks took an early lead on Thursday, scoring four runs before Villanova answered back with one in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman Cristina Batres — aided in later innings by Molly Gallagher — commanded the mound for the Sharks, only allowing one run in the fourth and two in the sixth.
Although the Sharks finished their season with a 6-12 overall record, 2-8 in conference play, it is hard work and improvement from players like Batres that allows head coach Mark Cooley to chalk the season up to a win.
“For a kid who isn’t a pitcher — she plays center field on her travel team — she really stepped up and what she did out there this season was great,” Cooley said. “Every kid out there has improved unbelievably. They’ve all come miles and miles from last season.”
While the team faced struggles, with only nine players and no alternates throughout the season, Cooley considers their six wins this season a solid improvement over last year’s four wins.
“Last year we had 66 percent freshmen,” Cooley said. “Lots of the players hadn’t been coached up and they came into a system with me that makes you work.”
And just as Cooley has seen marked improvements since last season, he believes next year’s team will prove to be even more competitive.
Players like McConnell, who boasted a .462 batting average with 26 RBIs this season, Batres, who maintained a .620 average on the bases and successfully executed 19 of her 21 base stealing attempts and Molly Gallagher, who scored 29 of the team’s 149 total runs, will add ever-growing experience to the team’s roster next season.
“You’ll see us start to balance out next year,” Cooley said. “The record doesn’t depict everything. Our team doesn’t base our success on the win/loss column.”