Having played one error-free game, the next goal for the Modesto Junior College softball team was to play another.
Eventually the Pirates would get a win out of it.
Modesto won its first Big 8 Conference game on Thursday, beating Diablo Valley College 4-1 to snap a seven-game losing streak. Rachel Rebelo struck out four and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Batterymate Missy Corral also drove in a run and scored once to lift Modesto (7-14, 1-3 Big 8).
"We've been telling ourselves, 'It starts now,' " Corral said. "We've been telling ourselves to work harder in practice so we deserve these wins. I think we deserved this one."
Kayla Layman and Kacey Beard each tagged Diablo Valley (7-11, 0-3) pitcher Danie Foster for two hits. For the first time in almost three weeks, head coach Kelly Nasrawi saw the Pirates play a complete game.
Modesto is young -- first baseman Sara Cree is the only returner from last year's squad -- but it's a good team. Nasrawi hoped a victory would restore the Pirates' confidence.
"I know what it feels like to win and I think it would make them feel better," the first-year MJC coach said. "I want them to walk away thinking, 'Okay. I played a great game.' We definitely needed this win."
Modesto won three games in row -- and four out of five -- early in February. Before Thursday, its last victory was a 10-0 decision over Taft on Feb. 17.
Since then, the Pirates seemed to make every mistake possible in one game or another. They lost four of seven games by two runs or less.
"I think that we're not consistent in the things we do," Nasrawi said. "We beat ourselves in some way. We don't hit. We don't hit our spots. It's always something."
Corral, an Oakdale High grad, realized how much she missed softball after a year attending school at Cal State Monterey Bay. The catcher is hitting .500 with three doubles and two home runs.
Corral thinks the string of self-inflicted damage may be over.
"There are always slumps in every season," Corral said. "When you get in that slump, you have to stay together. We're being positive about it, working on being positive in practice. It showed on the field today."