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May 23, 2006 > Ohlone Girls Softball team

Ohlone Girls Softball team

by Biff Jones

The Ohlone Softball Team traveled to Sacramento May 6 and 7 to participate in one of four NorCal Community College softball tournaments. The winner of the double elimination tournament would move on to the state tournament in Redding the following weekend to face the other three NorCal tournament winners along the winners of the four So Cal tournaments to determine the 2006 California Community or Junior College softball champion.

The Renegades of Ohlone were the number 10 seed in NorCal and opened play Saturday against number 7 seed Feather River of Quincy. This would be the second meeting of the year between the two schools and one at which the Renegades were hoping to avenge a 3-0 loss in the rain plagued "March Madness" tournament hosted by Ohlone.

During the regular season Ohlone's pitching and defense were their strong suits; in only one game did a team score more than 7 runs against the Renegades, and that was 8 by College of the Redwoods. When Ohlone scored 8 runs in this tournament opener you would think they opened with a "W". Such was not the case as apparently the postseason inexperience of the freshman dominated Renegades reared its ugly head. The strong defense demonstrated during the regular season fell apart, and the women of Ohlone committed 7 errors, going down to defeat 14-8. Ohlone would now have to go through the loser's bracket to advance to the state tournament, needing to win four straight games on Sunday.

Next up for Ohlone, Coast Conference, Northern Division league rival College of San Mateo. The Renegades dominated San Mateo during the regular season, having won all three meetings, and the postseason proved no different as Ohlone prevailed 11-1. Advancing through the loser's bracket, Ohlone would get another crack at Feather River as Feather River suffered its first loss of the regional. With two post season games under their belts, the inexperienced Ohlone freshman started playing good "D" and the Renegade bats continued to produce. Thus Ohlone continued its season with a 6-3 victory to advance to a game against the only remaining undefeated team in the regional. To win this tournament Ohlone would now have to defeat the host and NorCal number 2 seed, Sacramento City College, twice before the day was over.

Sac City jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning and added another run in the fourth before the Renegades would get on the score board against Sac City's Co-NorCal Pitcher of the Year, Tracy Ryan. Behind Kristina DaSilva's home run, Ohlone was able to cut the deficit to 6-3, before Coast Conference, Northern Division Player of the Year, Melissa Cross unloaded in the bottom of the seventh with a 3 run blast that cleared everything and tied the score at 6-6. That would be Ohlone's last hurrah for 2006 as Sac City loaded the bases in the top of the eighth and scored the go ahead run on a hit batsman. They then added two more runs before the inning ended. The Renegades were out of comebacks and suffered their second loss of the regional, 9-6, sending host Sac City to the state tournament in Redding.

For Ohlone, the season ended with a very respectable 27-11-1 record while going 18-2 in league play. This was good enough for their fourth straight CC, Northern Division title. Other teams in the conference besides Ohlone and San Mateo, are Chabot College of Hayward, City College of San Francisco, DeAnza College of Cupertino and Mission College of Santa Clara.

As expected, Ohlone dominated the All-Conference, Northern Division first team led by Coach of the Year, Donna Runyon, Player of the Year, Melissa Cross and Pitcher of the Year, Isabel Ramos. Other Ohlone first teamers were Angelina Franceschini Piccolotti, Tiffany Chan, Kristina DaSilva, Raquel Torres and Valerie Briones. Second teamers from Ohlone were Ashley Marra, Jessica Soderholm and Elizabeth Wagner. Also on the All-Conference Northern Division first team were Sam Sirico and Katie Nolan of Chabot College.

Although losing 1st baseman Cross, 3rd baseman Franceschini Piccolotti, center fielder Marra and reserve outfielder Jennifer Rapp to graduation, 2007 is expected to return its nucleus of freshman players, including pitchers, Ramos and Chan, catchers Wagner and Meredith Ang, infielders Torres and Soderholm and outfielders DaSilva, Briones and Ashley Gibbs. However, Coach Runyon says only the pitchers are guaranteed of playing the same position the following year. With the influx of new talent next year to go along with the returning veterans, the Renegades maybe only a third pitcher (needed in case of injury) and one or two power hitters away from a fifth straight CC Northern Division title and a run at the state championship. Nice season ladies!

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