SFT: Buie, Milam make spectacular catches in DP win over Buena

Dos Pueblos' Ali Milam robs Buena's Brooke Yanez of a two-run home run with a spectacular catch in right field on Tuesday.

Dos Pueblos’ Ali Milam robs Buena’s Brooke Yanez of a two-run home run with a spectacular catch in right field on Tuesday.

A pair of outfield web gems, combined with the hitting and pitching of Lani Evans, sparked the Dos Pueblos softball team to a 5-0 win over Buena in a battle of Channel League co-leaders on Tuesday at Okinaka Field.

The Chargers improve to 8-1 in league play while Buena falls to 5-2. The teams play again on Friday at Buena.

DP was leading 2-0 on an Evans two run homer in the first, when Buena started mashing the ball in the third inning. But Chargers Maddy Buie and Ali Milam made spectacular catches at the fence to rob Bulldogs Kayla Lee and Brooke Yanez of home runs. Buie ran down Lee’s high drive to left and reached high above the fence to make the catch.

The left-hand hitting Yanez ripped what appeared to be a two-run blast to right field. But not on Milam’s watch. She ran to the fence, lunged against it and caught the ball as her body straddled over the fence. She rocked back onto her feet and held her glove up in triumph. The judges would have given her a 10.00.

Evans was probably the second happiest person in the park.

“Those were amazing,” the starting pitcher said. “Ali looked like she was about to flip over the fence.

“Insane… lucky to have that outfield,” she added.

The Iona-bound Evans said catches like that have been common lately for the Chargers.

“We’ve been actually robbing a lot of home runs right. It’s really fun and great having that great defense out there.”

Coach Jon Uyesaka said the two on Tuesday give the team five over-the-fence catches this season.

Buie said she expected to make a play against Buena.

“I knew that Buena was a real good hitting team and last game they hit a lot to us,” she said. “They’re the only team that hit that much to the outfield. I knew a one big one was coming. It happened to me last game, so I was ready for it.”

Milam said all she thought about when the ball was hit was to make the catch.

“I thought I was going to flip over (the fence) but I held up. I was watching it all the way and I saw the fence. My center fielder Melissa (Spinks) was a yelling at me, ‘Fence.’ She was helping me out, so I found the fence and went for it.”

When she pushed herself off the fence, the ball was sticking out of the top of the glove webbing.

“It was definitely a snow cone,” she said. “That was close, but I hung on to it.”

Buie also credited Spinks for helping make the homer-robbing catch in left.

“I read it right. I got a good jump on it and Melissa, the center fielder, talked to me about the fence, so I knew where I was in the field and I was able to keep my footing and catch the ball before it went over,” said Buie.

Evans put the pressure on the Bulldogs early when she smacked an inside fastball from the left-handed Yanez over the left-field fence for a two-run homer. Buie was on second base after a leadoff single and a passed ball.

“I knew it was low and inside and I turned on it pretty well,” said Evans of the pitch.

Evans admitted she didn’t have her best stuff. She gave up four hits and struck out six in five innings, striking out the side in the fifth.

But this day belonged to the Charger defense. In addition to the big catches in the outfield, Kai Uyesaka made a tough play on a short hopper at first base in and second baseman Siena Wagner fielded a hard shot and made the putout from the seat of her pants.

“We definitely cleaned up our defense a lot and our hitting has come through majorly from the beginning,” said Milam.

Dos Pueblos put the game out of reach with three runs in the sixth. The Chargers capitalized on two walks, an infield error, a RBI single by Jade Sinskul, and a couple of wild pitches.

“We got a few breaks,” said coach Uyesaka.

The Chargers (19-4, No. 5 in CIF Division 4) have gradually put the whole package together and are playing well in all facets of the game as the season heads toward the CIF playoffs.

“DP’s credit has been pitching and defense, primarily,” Uyesaka said. “There’ve been a few years of hitting, but this particular group it’s always been pitching and defense and hitting last. Our hitting is now coming up and it’s making our defense more confident and easier. And our pitchers have a little bit more piece of mind in a game. You don’t always have to worry about 1-0- or 2-1-type of games. We’re fortunate.”

Buena…000 000 0 — 0 5-2
Dos Pueblos…200 003 x — 5 6 0

Yanez and Loyola; Evans, Gulvin (6) and Sinskul. W—Evans. L—Yanez. Sv—Gulvin.
HR—DP: Evans, 1st inn., one on.