By Andrew Johnson

HESPERIA – The names may change, but Holton’s domination over archrival Hesperia in softball remains the same.

In his four years as Holton softball coach, Kirk Younts has yet to lose to Hesperia, and that continued on Friday when his Red Devils rolled to impressive 10-2 and 19-2 victories over the Panthers in a battle of CSAA Silver Division contenders.

Holton is now 13-3 overall and 9-1 in CSAA play. Hesperia falls to 12-4 overall and 7-3 in the conference.

“That’s our rival, and it was our rival when I graduated from Holton,” Younts said. “I told the girls, ‘Let’s not lose.’ We play them four times in a season, and we also come here this year for districts, so it was a good way to make a statement.”

In Game 1, Adrieanna Fitzgerald led the Red Devil attack with two hits and five RBIs, including a home run. Kaylie Piper added a hit and three RBIs for Holton.

Hesperia was led by Claire Rumsey with two hits and Lilah Majersky with an RBI double.

In the nightcap, Holton struck quickly to complete the doubleheader sweep, loading the bases in the first inning before recording an out.

After Piper fouled out for the first out of the game, Fitzgerald ripped a two-run single to left field, giving the Red Devils a 2-0 lead. Dani Tanner then came home on a wild pitch before Fitzgerald scored on a Hesperia error to make the score 4-0.

Later in the first inning, Bryntnee Epplett had an RBI single, Morgan Murat singled in two runs, and Haylee Brant singled home one, giving the Red Devils an 8-0 lead after half an inning.

In the top of the second, Piper scored on another wild pitch while Madi Swenson knocked in Fitzgerald to make the score 10-0.

The lead was extended to 11-0 in the third when Brant doubled home Murat.

Hesperia got on the scoreboard in the home half of the third inning when Ellie Palmer brought home Majersky with an infield single, making the score 11-1.

In the top of the fifth, Holton poured on insurance runs, making the score 19-1. Murat, Brant, Tanner, Piper, and Madi Baker all had RBIs in the inning.

Hesperia closed out the scoring in the home half of the fifth when Rumsey brought home Majersky on a 2-out single to left field.

Overall, Murat led Holton with five hits and five RBIs in Game 2, while Fitzgerald added three hits and two RBIs.

“I saw a lot of strikes,” said Murat about her approach at the plate. “I saw good pitches that I thought were just perfect for me, so I just swung at them. I felt pretty good and I wasn’t too worried about anything.”

The two teams will meet again on May 21, and Hesperia head coach Doug Bolles hopes his team will show Holton a tougher challenge.

“Our big goal this year was to try and compete with Holton,” the coach said. “Younts does a great job and they’re a great team over there. We wanted to see where we stacked up. It’s the Holton mystique.

‘It’s something in our heads. I take nothing from Holton, they hit the ball and played better for sure. I told Younts, ‘Hopefully we show you what we’re made of next time.’ From what I’m seeing we still have work to do.”