There are days when the batter’s box is as comfortable as a broken in pair of jeans.
Everything feels good no matter the situation.
Taking a stroll or a pitch. Sitting in class or on a 3-1 fastball.
That’s exactly the way Kennedy Bark was feeling Thursday when she helped lead Westwood to a 19-7 six-inning win over Mesa in the East Valley Region opener for both teams.
Bark went 4-for-5 with two home runs, one in the first and another in the sixth inning to help invoke the mercy rule against the Jackrabbits.
“I was feeling good in all my at bats,” she said. “I just wanted to get as many swings as I could because I knew I was on it today. It’s a great feeling and you just want to keep hitting.”
Westwood coach Don Baker said Bark has been in a good groove all year.
“She’s hitting about .600 and that’s gives her five or six home runs already,” he said. “For a sophomore she has a great idea of the strike zone, and she knows what she likes. Her swing stays in the zone a long time.”
The Warriors (11-12, 1-0) were all feeling it against Mesa, which has been saddled with a lack of depth on the mound, as a seven-run second inning set the tone.
Hannah Matson, who was also on the mound for the win, had three doubles, while Alicia Montano also had a multi-hit game. The Warriors have a good offense, but a young roster so there have been some struggles.
The roster has only two seniors on it, including catcher Tiffany Eriacho, so the junior and sophomore classes are getting a valuable experience that can give the Warriors a chance to go on a good run the next few years.
“We have a big sophomore class,” Bark said. “We are playing together now and learning to win together. We feel like we can have a good year this year, and keep building on it.”
The Jackrabbits (1-11, 0-1) are in a rebuilding mode with only one pitcher – Serianna Luna – with experience and lack of depth throughout the program.
“We are starting to learn to fight back,” Mesa coach Ritchie Martin said. “When I first got here we had minimal fight. It is about gaining confidence and get them out of that losing mentality. We are taking some steps forward.”
Deyisha Lawrence, Adriana Monroy and Luna have been the top batters for the Jackrabbits.
Westwood looks to build off the initial region win with hopes of being near the top along with Red Mountain, Mountain View, and possibly Dobson in May.
“It’s always good to get that initial win,” Baker said. “We have to keep building off of it. Our defense made some uncharacteristic plays that will beat us against a better team. We’ll learn from it and see where we can go. We have to beat the lower level teams and take our shot against Red Mountain and some of the other teams.”
– Jason P. Skoda is a senior writer for MyNewsMesa.com. Send Mesa-based story ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.