There's a catch to playing on the same softball team with Lisa Bautista, and it's trying to stay interested in the game when the Banning High pitcher is throwing no-hitter after no-hitter and nobody is seeing much of the ball besides Bautista and her catcher.
That's the reason her battery mate, Susan Miller, decided to go back behind the plate after opening the season at first base.
Miller, who caught Bautista last year, told Coach Carol Cox that she didn't want to catch this season. But after half a season of chattering, "Hey batter, hey batter," she'd had enough.
"I was so bored at first, I said, 'Put me at catcher,' " Miller said. "Then we had injuries so I went back to catcher and Tish (Madrigal) moved to center."
Cox said both moves helped the team defensively, and Miller is happy to be back in the game, though she sometimes has to wear padding on her bruised glove hand.
Bautista calls her own game but Miller knows her well enough to change signals once in a while. "If she's thrown a riser and calls another riser, I'll tell her to try something else. I call for her screwball--she has such an awesome screwball but she doesn't throw it often," Miller said.
Miller is also sports editor of the student newspaper, the Portlight, and chronicles her pitcher's feats. She said she hopes to make sportswriting a career, starting next fall when she will enter UCLA.
She is undecided about hanging up the spikes. She said she may try out as a walk-on at UCLA, which won the national championship last week, but "I'm not sure I want to play. College is for other things."
From the Never-Over-Till-It's-Over Department: A parent of a player on the Chatsworth High softball team offered some encouragement to a girl in the on-deck circle one day last week. The team was being no-hit by Banning's Lisa Bautista. The girl gave him an annoyed look and said, "It's over. We should go home now." It was the fifth inning.
(After Bautista completed a no-hitter, her 17th, the same girl told a reporter, "She wasn't so tough. After reading about her I thought she'd be a lot tougher. I thought she'd be bigger.")
Narbonne High found some interesting ways to score runs last week in its 11-8 playoff opening victory over Sylmar.
The Gauchos made six errors in three innings to allow most of the Sylmar runs. Shortstop Juan Avila, who made three of the errors, began the big comeback when he smashed a home run over the left field fence to lead off the third inning.
Second baseman Jim Jeter then was beaned, and was awarded first base despite the Sylmar coaching staff's contention that he hadn't tried to avoid the pitch. (In Jeter's next at bat teammates were encouraging him to "take another one for the team.") Jeter scored on third baseman John Ramirez's double.
The Gauchos scored another run when left fielder Stacy Bennett was thrown out at third but kicked the ball out of the third baseman's glove and ran home. That run also stood despite Sylmar's protests.
The Gauchos scored their last runs when pitcher Anthony Del Rio hit a high, wind-blown fly to right center that fell between the fielders. With the help of a poor relay throw Del Rio turned it into an inside-the-park home run. Del Rio hadn't had a hit in several weeks.