March 13, 2007 > March Madness, softball style, arrived in Fremont with perfect weather
March Madness, softball style, arrived in Fremont with perfect weather
By Biff Jones
March 2006 greeted Ohlone College of Fremont head softball coach Donna Runyon, with wind, rain and cold weather when she attempted to put on a sixteen team California Community College softball tournament. Five teams attempted to play an abbreviated version at Ohlone College on Sunday but only four games survived the foul weather.
March 2007 sent the lions packing and allowed the lambs to prevail. This year's version of March Madness saw the ladies playing in 70-80 degree weather under partly cloudy skies and gentle breezes as the softballers gathered at Fremont's Central Park softball complex last Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11. Fifteen of the scheduled sixteen teams showed up and had a great time playing three games on Saturday and from one to three games on Sunday. When not displaying their skills on the dirt and grass of the softball diamonds, they were enjoying a summer time atmosphere with picnic food on this first week-end of daylight savings time which kicked in three weeks earlier this year.
After Saturday's pool play action, host Ohlone and local favorite, Chabot College of Hayward, moved on to the Gold or winners Bracket games on Sunday. Ohlone got to the Gold games by defeating Porterville 6-2, Yuba of Marysville 9-2, and Feather River of Quincy 11-3. Chabot reached the quarter-finals of the winner's bracket when they defeated Redwoods of Eureka 9-7, lost to Solano of Fairfield 15-0, then were credited with a 7-0 forfeit win over Los Medanos of Pittsburg when Los Medanos was unable to make the trip down the East Bay.
On Sunday, Ohlone's quarter-final opponent was Coast Conference, North Division rival San Mateo College, while Chabot faced off against Coast Conference, South Division foe San Jose City College.
For Chabot, the quarter-final task looked daunting as the Lady Gladiators have struggled thus far in the 2007 season, while the Jaguars of San Jose City would enter the contest as one of the best teams in the state, sprouting a 17-2-1 record and one of the favorites to win March Madness. It would not have been surprising for Chabot to lose the game on the mercy rule. This would have happened if they trailed in the game after five or six innings by eight runs or more. It would not be the case as Chabot played the Jaguars tough and finally lost 5-3, going the full seven innings. This, combined with splitting the two games on Saturday, indicates that changes of first year head coach, Chelsea Spencer, may have turned the corner to start putting some "W's" in the won-lost column.
In Ohlone's case, they were facing a team and a pitcher for the second time this year, and the Renegades came away with a 7-0 victory the first time around. This was a different day, under different circumstances, and would end with a different result for the two conference rivals. San Mateo started out strong by scoring single runs in the first and second innings. Ohlone would score their only run of the game in their half of the second as Ohlone's starting pitcher, sophomore Isabel Ramos, tripled home freshman catcher Cassandra Ortega, who had doubled earlier in the inning. Ortega also added a single during the contest while freshman left fielder, Danielle Cameron, contributed a double to the Lady Renegades offensive, but that was it for Ohlone's hit parade. While Ramos kept Ohlone in the ball game through four innings, San Mateo would find their hitting eye in the fifth and sixth as they started driving the ball over the heads of the Renegades outfielders to plate three runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth and come away with a 6-1 quarter-final victory.
For Ohlone, their overall record dropped to 16-4 while pitcher Ramos fell to 9-3. Next up for the Renegades will be a road, Coast Conference, North Division game at 3 p.m. today, March 13 against none other than San Mateo. What a chance to quickly remove a bitter taste. The road game will be followed by a 3 p.m. home game against Diablo Valley of Pleasant Hills, Thursday, March 15, then another home date next Tuesday, March 20 in a double-header as part of a make-up game. The opponent will be league rival, Foothill of Los Altos Hills starting at 1 p.m. There is still a lot of softball to be played by the Lady Gladiators and Renegades.