Amy Knowles’ message was clear to her Shasta College softball squad in Saturday’s home opener against College of the Redwoods – it’s time to make something happen.
The Knights waited around long enough to get back on the field after the 2020 season was canceled derailed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The inexperienced 10-person roster was timid at the plate last weekend in the season-opening doubleheader loss to College of the Siskiyous and Knowles quickly grew tired of being patient.
“We’ve been sitting around for so many days and months, I finally just told them to jump on whatever they could get,” she said.
Three of Shasta’s first four runs came across from drawing bases loaded walks, Whitney Carnes and Madisen Borek blew the game open with RBI singles and the Knights beat College of the Redwoods 8-5 Saturday in the opening game of the doubleheader. Knights coverage is presented by Shasta Orthopaedics.
Redwoods’ starting pitcher Makayla Bernard struggled with her command throughout, walking 11 batters through the first four innings including five in the opening frame. Shasta’s hitters battled with the decision to swing the bat or take the free passes.
The Knights will take runs any way they can get, Knowles said, but she also knows the Knights couldn’t help being more aggressive and jumping on pitches with how erratic Bernard was throwing.
“I love everything about what we did at the plate today,” Knowles said.
Redwoods put up a pair of runs in the first on Jaycee Morais’ two-out, two-run single after Shasta committed two errors to extend the inning.
Shasta got it right back in the bottom half of the frame and later took a 3-2 lead on Carnes’ bases-loaded walk. Carnes drove in Shelbe Cappello in the fourth and Borek’s RBI single in the fifth put the Knights ahead 6-3.
That lead was enough with the way freshman pitcher Kaylie McDaniel was locked in. The U-Prep alum was dominant through the middle innings, retiring 10 straight at one point and allowing only one Corsair to reach base from the third through the sixth innings.
“She settled in great,” Knowles said. “To her defense, that first inning she did what we asked her to do. We didn’t play defense behind her.”
McDaniel (1-1) earned the complete game win, allowing eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
Carnes drove in her fourth and fifth RBI of the game in the bottom of the sixth with Madeline Nightingale sliding under the tag to score from second on the bloop single to right center field.
McDaniel ran into trouble in the seventh, giving up back-to-back singles to start the frame. After a sacrifice and fielder’s choice to get two outs, Grace Rosebrook lined an RBI single into right and Redwoods added another run on a Cappello error. McDaniel got Sadie Wilkerson to ground out to Cappello to give the Knights their first victory of the year.
Carnes was 2 for 2 with two walks and five RBIs, Cappello drew three walks and scored three times, Autumn Giannini was 2 for 2 with two walks and two runs, Nightingale scored twice and Khloe Forrister scored a run.
Shasta’s three errors allowed four runs to score in an otherwise clean and efficient game from the Knights, who are learning the college game on the fly with limited practice time because of the pandemic.
“I haven’t had much time with this team so we’re young, dumb and scrappy and by dumb I mean we’re learning,” Shufelberger-Knowles said. “College softball is different level and it’s getting them to realize that.
“I’m just happy we’re playing again.”
Shasta hosts Butte College on Thursday for a doubleheader at noon and 2 p.m.