ATASCADERO — The Atascadero Greyhounds softball team hosted its home opener on Thursday as they welcomed in Buchanan High School for an afternoon doubleheader. The Hounds came into the game as hot as a team could be after winning the Bakersfield High School tournament the weekend before but if there were concerns with the team they would have been offensive concerns.
Atascadero scored two or fewer runs in three of their tournament wins and relied heavily on the pitching arm of sophomore standout Bailey Doherty, who recorded 46 strikeouts in only 21 innings. However, the Hounds offensive woes caught up with them Thursday. Doherty was just a little off and needed the offense to help pick her up, but in the first game, the Hounds could only muster a single hit which came off the bat of freshman Mia Perry in the sixth inning.
Even with the Hounds going without a hit for the first six innings, the game was not out of reach until the very end. Heading into the sixth, Atascadero was only down 2-0 and even with her command not where it was the previous weekend, Doherty made the Bears earn their points. The fastest sprinter on the Buchanan team laid down a perfect bunt that rolled down the third base line in the fourth inning to give the Bears their first base runner. Buchanan added a sacrifice fly and a single in the inning to score their first two runs.
The wheels began to fall off in the top of the seventh inning when Buchanan hit what should have been a double, at best, that turned into a three-run inside-the-park home run. The ball rolled to the centerfield fence and when Atascadero tried throwing the ball into the infield it slipped out of the girl’s hands and rolled away from everyone. The Hounds dropped the first game 5-0.
In what could be considered a down game for Doherty, she finished the game allowing only one earned run on three hits, and still recorded 13 strikeouts. To be fair, to Doherty, the strike zone in Thursday's opening game had fans from both teams taking loud sighs as they tried to politely voice their displeasure with the inconsistency of calls low in the zone.
Perry pitched the second game for Atascadero, but again their offense was held scoreless and the Hounds fell 12-0. The Greyhounds have already had to deal with a few rainouts this season, and with at least three inches of rain expecting to come during the middle of this week, it will probably happen again. If the weather holds up, the Hounds will open their PAC 8 campaign Tuesday, when they take on San Luis Obispo.