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May 3, 2011 > Ohlone earns ninth straight CCN title

Ohlone earns ninth straight CCN title

By Biff Jones
Photos by Mike Heightchew

After getting career win 800 and capturing her ninth consecutive Coast Conference North (CCN) title, Ohlone College Renegades' head softball coach Donna Runyon finds her team sitting as the Nor Cal Regional No. 3 seed in the upcoming 2011 California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state championship tournament. This is the highest seed Ohlone has ever achieved entering the 16-team regional.

To get there, the Renegades faced off at home against the College of San Mateo on Tuesday, April 26, in a battle for first place in CCN with both teams tied for the lead. Ohlone sophomore ace starting pitcher Jessica Varady faced off against CSM ace Alyssa Jepsen in a rematch of a high scoring game at San Mateo in early April won by Jepsen in extra innings.

This time both teams would bend but not break. CSM threatened in every inning but the third only to see Varady come up with the big strikeout or groundout to end the threats. Meanwhile, Ohlone loaded the bases on walks in the first but could not score, and they had an infield single by Kaley Marden in the third. But that was it through five innings. (Marden later had to leave the game after taking two deep spike marks above the upper lip on a tag play at second base)

In the bottom of the sixth, the Renegades again loaded the bases with one out on a single by Varady and two walks; again Jepsen escaped unscathed. Finally in the bottom of the seventh, Ohlone center fielder Candice Christiansen led off with a single, then with two strikes, Ashley Vignola, after failing to get down a sacrifice bunt, hit a double to the fence in left-center to score Christiansen from first for a 1-0 victory and another CCN title. Renegades finished 15-3 in CCN and 29-7-1 overall while Varady ended up 24-5.

After upsetting CSM on Thursday, April 21, which gave Ohlone its chance for an outright CCN title, Chabot College Gladiators traveled to CCN foe Foothill College of Lo Altos Hills trying to earn a wild card bid to the CCCAA tournament. But is was not to be as Foothill jumped out to 5-0 lead after two innings and never looked back.

Chabot sophomore southpaw ace Cheyanne Bennett started, went the distance and took the loss to end her year at 9-13. Bennett singled, had an RBI and scored a run. First baseman Vanessa Bocog singled and scored a run while second baseman Taylor Cruz drove in the other run in the 7-2 loss. Chabot ended up in third place in CCN at 10-8 and 15-18 overall. First-year head coach Jen Deering will have to hit the recruiting trail hard this off season with only one starter, and three players, returning in 2012.

Sophomore third baseman Stefanie Hatley of Ohlone was named most valuable CCN player for 2011 and Varady the most valuable pitcher. Both also received First-Team All State honors. Other CCN awards from Ohlone were: first-team, Lauren Ermitano, Shelby Fowler and Marden; second-team, Christiansen, Brittany Hilliman, Sara Ragusa and Vignola. For Chabot: first-team, Bennett, Cruz and Stephanie Vandenbusch; second-team, Amanda O'Conner, Desiree Ramos and Jennifer Ybarra.

As the No. 3 seed, Ohlone will host No. 14 Reedley College in a best-of-three format during round one of the Nor Cal Regional on Saturday and Sunday, May 7-8. Game 1 on Saturday has a first pitch set for 2 p.m.; Game 2 is set for Sunday at noon; and Game 3 (if necessary) will get underway 30 minutes after the early game. Winner moves on to the second round of the Nor Cal Regional, May 13-15, in two separate four-team, double-elimination tournaments with the two highest remaining seeds being the hosts.

If you're interested in attending any of the games of the Ohlone-Reedley first-round series, admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students with I.D., seniors (60 and over) and children under 12. Parking is $2 on Saturday and free on Sunday.

Track & Field
Coast Conference men's and women's championships were held last week, Tuesday and Friday, April 26 and 29 at San Jose City College. Both of Chabot's teams under head coach Ken Grace finished sixth in overall points.

Chabot women who finished eighth or higher in their event along with those whose times/marks were Nor Cal Qualifying (NCQ) are as follows: 800 meter run, 7. Marcel Vasquez; 4x 400m relay, 6. Chabot (Monet Verrett, Kiyoko Orange, Jasmine Flannigan, Martina Villasenor); shot put, 4. Christine Hadfield, NCQ, 8. Miya Cato, NCQ; discus throw, 3. Tatjiana Pitts, 5. Trey Mullany-Banks, 8. Hadfield; hammer throw, 4. Cato, NCQ, 7. Katie Anderson; javelin throw, 4. Hadfield, NCQ, 8. Mullany-Banks.

Nor Cal Qualifying will be held Friday, May 6, at Modesto College. Nor Cal Finals are on Saturday, May 14, at Shasta College in Redding.

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