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April 9, 2008 > Renegades Softball rebounds with big win after tough weekend

Renegades Softball rebounds with big win after tough weekend

By Biff Jones

Ohlone College of Fremont women's softball team is undefeated in Coast Conference (CC) play and lead the conference's North Division by seven and a half games over second place City College of San Francisco. They can clinch the division with a victory over De Anza of Cupertino, a game played yesterday, April 8. Results were unavailable at press time. A first place finish would give them an automatic bid to the California Community College Softball Playoffs next month. In the meantime, they want to win as many remaining games as possible as they hope to end the regular season ranked in the top four in Nor Cal. That would give them home field advantage in the first two rounds of the playoffs, provided they win the first round.

The Renegades winning run took a sidetrack in the Wolverine Classic Tournament held at the Sacramento Softball Complex on Saturday and Sunday, March 29 - 30. It was hosted by Sierra College of Rocklin. Game one on Saturday, scheduled for 9 a.m. against Feather River of Quincy, a team Ohlone defeated 4-0 in their own March Madness Tournament (MMT) earlier this year, was cancelled because of wet grounds. In the scheduled game two against host Rocklin, the team that knocked the Renegades out the MMT, 4-1, was up next. This time Rocklin handed Ohlone its worst loss of the year, 9-1, called after five innings because of the eight run mercy rule.

Renegades ace pitcher, freshman, Kelly Colker, did not have her good stuff this day and could not get out of the fifth inning. Game three was against Porterville and this time the Renegades prevailed 9-3 behind the pitching of freshman, Sarah Lawrence. Lawrence opened the season for Ohlone with a five inning no hitter while giving up just one base-on-balls. However, the next week in practice, Lawrence fractured her foot. This was the first time she had played since the injury. On Sunday, in the playoff for third place, the wet grounds cancellation cost the team a chance for second place. The Renegades defeated Solano of Fairfield, 8-2, behind Colker, but then fell 5-1 to American River of Sacramento as Lawrence could only go three innings. According to Head Coach Dona Runyon, Lawrence is still not all the ways back from her injury. Hopefully, by playoff time, she will be back to where she was at the start of the season.

On Tuesday, April 1, Ohlone defeated CC South Division foe, Cabrillio of Aptos, 9-1 in five innings to bring up the long awaited match against CC South leader, San Jose City College, last Thursday, April 3. The Renegades have only been able to defeat SJCC once in six tries over the last three years including two, one run losses last year to knock Ohlone out of the post season and another one run loss earlier this year. This day would be another story as the Renegades came to play. After giving up a lead-off walk to San Jose, ace Colker would allow no more free passes while giving up just two hits and striking out five, including two in a nine pitch third inning in which she was dominating.

In the meantime, the defense was flawless while playing brilliantly. The bats for Ohlone, though not explosive until the sixth, did just enough as they scratched out a run in the first on a couple of singles and a hit batsman. Then in the sixth, Coach Runyon's changed batting order paid off dividends as clean-up hitter, sophomore Cassandra Ortega, led off with a double to right center. This was followed by freshman shortstop Jamie Miller batting out of the five hole (she usually bats in the third spot), tripling to the center field fence to drive in the all-important insurance run. Colker then induced the San Jose batters to hit into three consecutive, ground ball outs (that brilliant defense again) to retire the side in the seventh and give the host Renegades the long awaited victory over SJCC, 2-0. Another change Runyon made was to not have Colker bat this day and instead use the flex player or designated hitter to bat for her. This way Colker could focus her whole attention on pitching as the coach wanted her to make every pitch a purposeful one, whether to get a strike, an out or set up another pitch later in the count or in another at bat.

On Sunday, April 7, Ohlone hit the road and defeated Santa Rosa in a doubleheader. They won the first game, 4-2 in nine innings, behind Colker and were victorious, 7-2, in the nightcap as sophomore, Daniel Yee, picked up the victory to remain undefeated at 9-0 on the year.

Next up the for the Renegades is a home game Thursday, April 10, at 3 p.m. against CCN second place San Francisco, followed by a tripleheader on Saturday, April 12, with games at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. Ohlone will play league foe, Mission of Santa Clara, at 10 and a non-conference game at 2 p.m. against Diablo Valley College of Pleasant Hill. Mission and DVC will play the noon game. These will be the last regular season home games for the Renegades. On Tuesday, the April 15, Ohlone travels to Chabot of Hayward for a conference game at 3 p.m. on the campus of Cal State East Bay.

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