Rivera’s Homer Lifts Team’s Spirits in Loss

Despite a lopsided loss to Hancock, after the game coach Kelly Javier has the close attention of (from left) Allison Durham, Sophia Rivera, Abby Lawrence, Julianna Nikodym and Becky Carter. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit

Most inside-the-park home runs are hit by speed demons, not shot putters. But of course Sophia Rivera is not like most people. She proved it four months ago when she won state in both the shot put and the discus throw as a freshman at Brentwood High School.

Now she’s on the BHS softball team and apparently looking for more envelopes to push.

Sophia Rivera slides past Hancock’s catcher to complete her inside-the-park home run. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

On Tuesday at Brentwood Park, she stepped to the plate in the fifth inning with her team trailing Hancock 16-0. A couple of more outs and everybody could go home and eat supper, right?

Not exactly. A pitch sailed in and Rivera smashed it to center field. As the ball rolled and rolled, she churned around the bases. After rounding third, she stumbled and nearly fell, but slid into home plate well ahead of the throw. As Rivera’s teammates mobbed her in the dugout, head coach Kelly Javier hopped onto the dugout bench and reached over the cluster of smiling players to administer to two big high-fives to the tall sophomore.

“We’ve been working on her hitting technique,” said Javier. “I tell Sophia, ‘You don’t have to hit it with all your might. Just do it right.’”

Hancock retired the next batter to finish the game, but for the Eagles it was an oddly upbeat ending to a 16-1 loss.

Brentwood was 1-2 before playing Jennings on Sept. 5. The Eagles opened the season losing 16-6 to McCluer South-Berkeley on Aug. 30, lost to Hancock on Sept. 3 and beat Soldan 21-6 on Sept. 4.

Coach Kelly Javier congratulates Abby Lawrence and others for getting the third out. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Rebuilding Season

After finishing with a winning record last season, BHS lost five players to graduation. Of the 11 players on the current roster, four are playing the sport for the first time.

“We’re rebuilding,” said Javier, “and we’re learning.”

The team’s co-captains are senior sisters Shawn and Allison Durham.

“Shawn and Allison are the light on this team,” said Javier. They have a demeanor that’s happy and cheery. They model the right thing to do.”

Senior co-captain Allison Durham pitches against Hancock. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Senior co-captain Shawn Durham fields the ball at third base and throws to first. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Starting Lineup vs. Hancock
Catcher, Jill Yancy, sophomore
Pitcher, Allison Durham, senior
First baseman, Darya Tajfiroozeh, junior
Second baseman, Julianna Nikodym, junior
Shortstop, Sophia Rivera, sophomore
Third baseman, Shawn Durham, senior
Left field, Abby Lawrence, sophomore
Center field, Gabby Zoellner, senior
Right field, Rachael Wojdyla

Also on the team are senior Natalie Kramer and sophomore Becky Carter.

Brentwood coach Kelly Javier stands on the dugout bench to congratulate Sophia Rivera for hitting a home run against Hancock. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Kelly Javier high-fives Sophia Rivera. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Upcoming Games
Sept. 6, 4:15 p.m., at Bayless
Sept. 10, 4:15 p.m., at Valley Park
Sept. 12, 4:15 p.m., host Metro

Senior Gabby Zoellner connects with a Hancock pitch. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Assistant coach Darrel Harris helps a pitcher warm up. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Sophomore Rachael Wojdyla eyes a pitch against Hancock. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Coaches Kelly Javier and Darrel Harris address the team in left field after the loss to Hancock. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

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