By Jesus Romero |Sports Editor|
The roller coaster of a dream came to an end this season for the CSUSB women’s softball team.
The lady Coyotes traveled to La Jolla to face a CCAA division rival, the UC San Diego (UCSD) Tritons. Falling to the Tritons keeps the Coyotes from advance to the NCAA Finals.
Errors cost CSUSB Friday’s game as they fell to UCSD 3 to 1. All three runs came in the third inning from a couple of errors and a base hit.
The Coyotes couldn’t bounce back from the inning and were only able to scratch one run off of Stefanie Pace’s second homerun of the season in the sixth inning.
Saturday’s game on the other hand was heart breaking and unexpected as UCSD rallied back in the seventh and final inning to crush CSUSB’s dream and beat them for the second consecutive day 3 to 1.
Cassidy Lee took the mound for the fifth straight NCAA game and had a one-hitter (including 16 straight batters retired), up until the seventh inning.
The only Coyotes’ run was in the third inning of Saturday’s game as Alex Mitchell lead off the inning with a double.
Mitchell looked to be stranded after a rare unsuccessful bunt attempt by the senior Jacquelyn Holtzclaw, followed by Brittany Butler’s pop up to the catcher. Felicia Cervantes popped up to UCSD’s second baseman who couldn’t handle it and allowed Mitchell to score.
Lee walked UCSD’s Kris Lesovsky, to start the seventh. Then the Triton’s Taylor Sepulveda beat out a bunt in front of home plate which gave UCSD runners on first and second with nobody out.
Lee battled and got Sarah Woofter to ground out to second basemen Brittany Butler, but the runners advanced to second and third.
Tess Granath pinch hit for Charly Swanberg and got a seeing-eye single through the right side of the infield which scored two runs, and advanced to second on the throw home, which set up for the Triton’s third run.
CSUSB was the home team and couldn’t bring two runs across the board in the bottom half of the inning.
“I never once believed we were going to lose that game,” said Coach Tacy Duncan.
Coach Duncan explained that she was talking to Lee letting her know that she was going to pitch the next game, and counting down the innings.
Both Lee and Coach Duncan explained that they would rather have had good solid base hits that UCSD earned then the little dinkers that squeaked by the infield.
The Coyotes cannot hold their heads downs, as they battled in Hawaii beating the NCAA defending champs (Hawaii Pacific) and Sonoma State twice. This is the first time the girls have made it to the Division II West Super Regional.
“What’s awesome of getting here is that now my whole team knows what it takes for this, said Duncan. “We have 10 of them coming back, there’s no reason we can’t do this again.”
CSUSB has only three seniors, and the remainder of the pack will be back next year in hopes to get over the next hump. Cassidy Lee, Priscilla Curiel and Jacquelyn Holtzclaw will be graduating but have set a good foundation for the future of CSUSB women’s softball.
Coach Duncan wanted to add that she couldn’t have done anything without the help of her coaching staff that was great all year long, which helped her make this amazing and historic run.
CSUSB had only 13 players which made them a close and fun squad.
Duncan concluded that it helps being a small close group because everyone got a lot of playing time and at-bats and they did great with the small amount that they had.