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March 18, 2009 > 2009 March Madness Classic not wet, but wild

2009 March Madness Classic not wet, but wild

By Biff Jones
Photos By Don Jedlovec

Thanks to the efforts of Ohlone softball Head Coach Donna Runyon and her staff of volunteer parents and other Ohlone College personnel, the 2009 version of fast pitch softball went without a hitch.

The two day tournament, Saturday and Sunday, March 14-15, at Fremont's Central Park, allowed sixteen Northern and Central California community college women's softball teams to play four-six games in the cold, but dry, conditions which consisted of plenty of wild and crazy plays.

Plays such as a base runner being called out because she was touched by a base coach and another because she stepped on her bat after hitting the ball were two such crazy plays.

In one of the last games played on day one, a team lost a chance to play in the Gold, or Championship Bracket, because they defeated a team by a score of 19-1. If they had won 1-0, or any score involving a shutout, then they would have gone into a three-way coin flip to decide which two teams would play on day two in the Gold Bracket, with the third team being put in the Silver, or Consolation Bracket. Such was the craziness of this year's softball March Madness.

After day one, three teams, host Ohlone, Fresno City and Siskiyous of Weed, were 3-0, with Siskiyous also shutting out their opponents in all three games. The other local team, Chabot of Hayward, ended up in a three way tie for second place with a record of 1-2. They were in the same day-one pool as Siskiyous, and had to go to the first tie breaker,
runs scored against, to determine which one of the three teams would move on to the Gold Bracket on Sunday, and which two would go to the Silver Bracket.

Head Coach Chelsea Spencer's Chabot team won the tie breaker and the right to face Fresno City on day two. The best part of making the Gold Bracket was not to have to play until 11 a.m. Sunday morning. The Silver Bracket teams had to play at 9 a.m.

Coming into this past weekend, Fresno City and Siskiyous were tied with the best winning percentage in the state among the community college softball teams. After Chabot took an early 5-1 lead over Fresno, the game was tied at 6-6 after the regulation seven innings.

In the extra innings, the international tie-breaking rule was employed where each team puts a runner on second base to start out their half of an extra inning. Fresno City ended up defeating Chabot, 7-6, in eight innings to end the Gladiators run in the tournament.

For Ohlone, game one on Sunday saw them defeat Modesto 8-0 in a game called after five innings because of the eight-run mercy rule. The Renegades next drew Siskiyous, a team they lost to twice earlier in the year. Ohlone thought maybe the third time would be the charm. However, Siskiyous continued their shutout string (they won earlier on Sunday, 9-0) by beating Ohlone, 7-0, in which they held the Renegades to just two hits and two base runners.

In the Gold Bracket final, it was Siskiyous taking on Fresno City. After the two teams matched each other early by going five scoreless innings, Fresno finally broke through and ended Siskiyous' scoreless string by hitting an inside the park home run in the top of the sixth.

Siskiyous was not dead, as they tied the score 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. The international tie-breaker was not used in the championship game and Siskiyous won the final, 2-1, in eight innings.

The Consolation, or Silver Bracket, was won by San Jose City, the team that lost out in making the Gold Bracket, when they won their last pool play game, 19-1. San Jose defeated Napa Valley, 9-0, in the final.

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