TAMPA — Chamberlain was without coach Bobby Diez when the Chiefs traveled to Leto for an important district matchup against the Falcons on Tuesday.
The veteran coach was at home recovering after back surgery on Monday. The Chiefs delivered the best “get well soon” gift they could think of: a shutout victory over the Falcons.
Chamberlain pitcher Olivia Dwyer kept Leto off the base paths by allowing only two hits in a comfortable 7-0 win.
“This is probably the first game he’s missed in over 20 years,” said assistant coach Tim Mouse, who took over in Diez’s absence. “I don’t think he would have let me come back to school (today) if we had lost.”
Chamberlain (7-2, 6-1) took an aggressive approach to build an early lead. Leadoff hitter Lauren Williams (3-for-4) and Hope Hernandez both singled in the top of the first. Williams stole third base, then swiped home on a double steal with Hernandez for the Chiefs’ first run. Later in the inning, Hernandez stole third and scored on an error.
In the third, Jenna Brownell singled home Hernandez after the catcher reached on an error and stole second. Brownell made it 4-0 Chamberlain when she scored on Izzy Ordorica’s RBI single.
The Chiefs’ one through five batters in the lineup had all seven of Chamberlain’s hits.
“Our first five are usually pretty solid,” Mouse said. “We’re looking for the next four. That’s where you separate an average team from a good team.”
Leto (6-3, 4-2) managed just two hits, an infield single from Alexis Gutcher in the third and a seventh-inning single by Carrie Reynolds.
The Falcons threatened in the first with runners on second and third and two out, but Dwyer got a strikeout to get out of the jam.
“Olivia hit her spots very well,” Mouse said. “Our freshman catcher, Hope Hernandez, called a good game. And the strength of our team should be our infield. We’re very surprised when our infield doesn’t make plays.”
Chamberlain cemented the outcome in the fifth after a bases-loaded error scored three runs.
Diez is expected to miss the Chiefs’ next game against Armwood on Thursday and return after spring break.