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May 7, 2008 > Ohlone Women's Softball Team advance in playoffs

Ohlone Women's Softball Team advance in playoffs

By Biff Jones
Photos By Don Jedlovic

On Tuesday, April 22, Ohlone College Renegades softball team defeated Foothill of Los Altos Hills 19-1 in a game called after five innings because of the eight run mercy rule. The victory capped a perfect Coast Conference North (CCN) Division season for the Renegades as they finished 24-0 and 38-7 overall for the regular season.

It was now on to regional post-season play last Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4. First and second round regional play was a best two out of three format for this and seven other first round regionals in NorCal with eight similar regionals taking place in SoCal. Ohlone received the fifth seed out of 16 teams in NorCal, and hosted number 12 seed, Solano of Fairfield. The two teams met three times earlier in the year, with Ohlone winning twice and Solano once. Other teams that met in NorCal over May 3-4, with the higher seeded team hosting, were Siskiyous of Weed (1)-College of San Mateo (16), Sacramento City (2)-Hartnell of Salinas (15), San Jose City (3)-Reedley(14), Shasta of Redding (4)-Napa Valley of Napa (13), Sierra of Rocklin (6)-Cabrillo of Aptos (11), Cosumnes River of Sacramento (7)-College of the Sequoias of Visalia (10), and Merced (8)-Gavilan of Gilroy (9).

The eight regional winners advanced to the second round of regionals on Saturday & Sunday, May 10 - 11. The four highest remaining seeds after the first round will host the four lowest remaining seeds for the right to go to the state tournament, May 16-19 in Riverside.

In game one last Saturday, the two teams went scoreless over the first two innings before Solano took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning on a lead-off two base error by the Renegades followed by a Solano triple and a ground out to score the second run. Ohlone would answer in the bottom of the second as right fielder Katrina Roman led off with a double and came home on consecutive ground outs. The game would remain 2-1, Solano, until the sixth as the Renegades could only manage three base runners, two hits and a walk, over the first five innings. Solano opened the sixth with a double, which brought in Ohlone freshman, Sarah Lawrence, in relief of Ohlone starting pitcher, freshman Kelly Colker. Lawrence then continued her penchant for getting opposing batters to hit ground balls and got out of the inning unscathed.

Ohlone's bats finally went to work in the bottom of the sixth when centerfielder Danielle Yee led off with a triple, then after an infield flyout, the Renegades put together three consecutive hits to score two runs on a single by catcher, Kathryn Sumner, a double from second baseman, Kassandra Winger and another single by first baseman Cassandra Ortega to give the Rengades a 3-2 lead. That is all Ohlone would need to capture game one as Lawrence did her thing and induced Solano to hit two ground ball outs and a pop out in the top of the seventh.

Game two on Sunday saw the Renegades jump out to an 8-0 lead on three runs in the first and five more in the second inning. Meanwhile, workhorse Colker, held Solano scoreless over the first three innings. Finally, Solano broke through with a run in the top of the fourth and two more in the fifth. Colker was again relieved by Lawrence after Colker allowed the first three batters to reach base safely in the fifth. Lawrence was not quite as sharp as she was on Saturday as she gave up three singles and an intentional walk over two innings of work, including a run in the sixth, to make the score 8-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. Ohlone then clinched the best of three series in their half of the sixth when the Renegades scored four runs on a double by Roman, a successful suicide squeeze bunt by Sumner, and back to back singles by Winger and Ortega to make the final score, 12-4. At this point, the game was ended because of the eight run mercy rule after five or six innings of play.

Ohlone will travel to Shasta of Redding to play another best two out of three format game, one will be played on Saturday, May 10, at 2 p.m., and game two will be held on Sunday, May 11, at noon. Game three, if necessary, will be held 20 - 30 minutes after game two ends, so around 2 - 2:30 p.m. Other second round games will have Siskiyous hosting Merced, Sacramento City hosting Sequoias, and San Jose City hosting Sierra.

Aside from local teams Ohlone and Chabot of Hayward, other teams playing softball in CCN are De Anza of Cupertino, Foothill, Mission of Santa Clara, City College of San Francisco and San Mateo.

Players from Ohlone and Chabot making CCN honors with local high schools attended, James Logan of Union City, Milpitas, Newark Memorial, and Washington of Fremont were as follows: Most Valuable Player, Ohlone sophomore second baseman, Kassandra Winger; and Most Valuable Pitcher, Ohlone freshman, Kelly Colker (Newark). Both Winger and Colker earned first team all state honors for the 2008 California Community College Softball season by virtue of being league MVPs. In addition, Coach of the Year went to Ohlone Head Coach, Donna Runyon, who also picked up her 700th career win this year while leading the Renegades to their sixth consecutive CCN championship.

Local players receiving all CCN first team honors are from Ohlone, sophomore Cassandra Ortega (Logan) and freshmen Kim Cawley (Milpitas) and Kathryn Sumner (Washington) and from Chabot, sophomore Shampayne Clay and freshmen Rachael Kroneder and Deena Qualls (Logan). Second team honors went to Ohlone sophomores Danielle Cameron, Katrina Roman and Danielle Yee (Milpitas) and freshman Jamie Miller. Chabot second teamers are sophomore Emily Cipolla and freshmen Cristina Panuco (Logan) and Natalie Malasavich. Ortega and Clay also made first team all NorCal.

Chabot finished in third place in CCN play with a 13-11 conference record, were 25-21 overall and just missed making the playoffs. For Chabot Head Coach, Chelsea Spencer, 2009 should be a season in which they will be challenging for first or second place in league and a position in the post season as they return a nucleus of seven or eight freshman, including both pitchers, who all steadily improved over the course of the 2008 season.

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