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May 1, 2007 > Lady Renegades get ready for the playoffs

Lady Renegades get ready for the playoffs

By Biff Jones

Last Tuesday, April 24, Ohlone College Renegades softball team defeated Foothill College of Los Altos Hills 16-1 in a game called after five innings because of the Mercy Rule (an eight or more run lead after five or six innings). Ohlone's Tiffany Chan pitched a no-hitter over the five innings with Foothill's only run coming on a fielding error by Ohlone.

Next day, the 25th, Ohlone, leaders of Coast Conference North Division (CCND) with a 20-3 conference record, 34-8 overall and ranked number five in the JC Scores coaches poll for NorCal, would play a road game against San Jose City College. The Jaguars of SJCC led the CC South Division with an undefeated 21-0 conference record, 37-6 overall and ranked fourth in NorCal. This would be the only regular season meeting of the year between the division leaders.

Ohlone lead-off hitter Valerie Briones started the game with an opposite field double down the left field line. The Renegades next three batters would go out in order to strand Briones on the bases and that would be Ohlone's only extra-base hit of the game. Five of the next six innings would see Renegades runners on base either via an error by SJCC, a walk (2) or a single (5), all of which were grounders of the "seeing-eye" variety through the Jaguars' infield. However, three times Ohlone base runners were tagged out trying to take the extra base and two of those times they were caught attempting to steal. Renegades pitcher, Isabel Ramos, was also on her game as she would give up only six hits, with no bases on balls, over the six innings she worked.

The bottom of the fifth would be the game decider as SJCC led off the inning with a single. When the next batter attempted a sacrifice bunt, it was popped up in front of the plate. Ramos and third basemen Raquel Torres converged on the ball and Ramos tried to make a one handed catch. As it hit her glove, the ball spun out and landed in foul territory. Since Ramos was in fair territory when she touched it, the hitter was safe at first on an error, and the Jaguars were in business with two on and nobody out. The third SJCC batter of the inning laid down another bunt which was successful, putting runners on second and third with one out. Jaguars' second basemen, Jennifer Montez would drive in the only two runs of the game as she delivered a sharp single to right field.

In the top of the seventh Ohlone briefly threatened when they led off with a single. This was followed by a fielder's choice out before the next batter ended the game on a "strike-'em out, throw-'em out" double play, leaving lead-off hitter Briones standing in the on-deck circle. The 2-0 victory by SJCC would end the regular season for both teams and drop the Lady Renegades into a first place tie with the College of San Mateo in CCND. By virtue of winning two of three games in conference play against CSM, Ohlone would hold the tie breaker in any post season seedings.

Ohlone sophomore pitcher/designated player Tiffany Chan and freshman first baseman/catcher Cassandra Ortega have been selected as all NorCal Regional players for the 2007 season.

It is now on to regional, post season, play for all three Coast Conference teams plus Cabrillo of Aptos as the second place team in CCSD. Ohlone received the sixth seed out of sixteen teams in NorCal and will host number eleven seed College of the Sequoias out of Visalia. The two teams were to have met earlier in the year, but were rained out. Other teams meeting in NorCal this coming week-end, Saturday and Sunday, May 5-6, with the higher seeded team hosting, are Sacramento City (1)-Napa Valley of Napa (16), Siskiyous of Weed (2)-Solano of Fairfield (15), Sierra of Rocklin (3)-Modesto (14), San Jose City (4)-Merced (13), Reedley (5)-Cabrillo (12), San Mateo (7)-Butte of Oroville (10), and Lassen of Susanville (8)-Diablo Valley of Pleasant Hill (9).

Ohlone's games will be played on the Ohlone Campus, 43600 Mission Blvd., Fremont. Game times are Saturday at either 12 noon or 2 p.m. (our sources show conflicting times) and Sunday at 12 noon followed by a second game at 2 p.m. if necessary, as it is a best two out three, playoff format. Admission is free, though there is a $2 parking charge on Saturday (have two $1 bills handy for the machine) and free parking on Sunday.

The eight regional winners advance to the second round of regionals over Mother's Day week-end, May 12-13. Highest remaining four seeds after the first round will host the four lowest remaining seeds for the right to go to the state tournament, May 19-20 in Chino Hills. Come out and support your favorite local team.

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