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April 23, 2008 > Ohlone Softball team poised for the post season

Ohlone Softball team poised for the post season

By Biff Jones

Having wrapped up the Coast Conference North (CCN) Division's regular season championship weeks ago, while continuing to add to their resume for a high seed in the California Community College softball playoffs, the Renegades of Fremont's Ohlone College can now concentrate on refining their game for a run at the state championship.

Ohlone is currently on a 10 game winning streak, not having lost since taking a non-conference 5-1 defeat to American River of Sacramento back on March 30. Since then, they have defeated CCN foes De Anza of Cupertino on April 8, College of San Francisco on April 10, and in a double header on April 12, Mission of Santa Clara and non-conference Diablo Valley of Pleasant Hill. All games were played on the Fremont Campus. Freshman workhorse, Kelly Colker, pitched complete game victories over De Anza, CCSF and DVC, while sophomore Danielle Yee and freshman Sara Lawrence combined for the victory over Mission. The CCSF and Mission games were called after five innings because of the eight run mercy rule. Yee got the win over Mission to improve her record to a perfect 10-0 on the year while Lawrence got in some much-needed work as she has missed most of the year because of an early season foot fracture.

Last week the Renegades faced the last remaining challenges to their regular season-ending, unbeaten streak. On April 15 they traveled to Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) to play Chabot of Hayward, who are playing their home games on the CSUEB campus because of work on their softball field at the Chabot Campus. The Gladiators also have designs on making the post season as an at-large bid and are fighting for a third place finish in CCN. A win against conference undefeated Ohlone would be a big step toward post season participation.

Ohlone opened the scoring in the top of the first with three consecutive singles and a Chabot error to take a 2-0 lead. The Renegades would add single runs in the fourth and sixth innings to go up 4-0 going into the bottom of the sixth before the Gladiators finally got on the board. After a lead-off double by Christina Panuco, Deena Qualls followed with a single to put runners on the corners. That is when Chabot Head Coach, Chelsea Spencer, tried to make something happen by executing a double steal, only to see it backfire when Panuco was tagged out at home. As it turned out, that would cost the Gladiators the ball game because sophomore shortstop Shampayne Clay, who was at bat when the attempted double steal took place, made a homerun over to the left center field fence to make the score 4-2 instead of 4-3. In the bottom of the seventh, Chabot added two more runs, thanks to two Renegade errors, to tie the score 4-4 and send the game into extra innings.

The top of the eighth saw Ohlone explode for four runs, followed by a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth to give the Renegades an 8-4 victory and remain undefeated in conference play. Chabot will now probably have to win all of their remaining games to have any chance at the playoffs. Hitting star for the Renegades was sophomore left fielder, Danielle Cameron, who went 4 for 4, including a double and a stolen base. Starting pitcher Colker now has a 24-6 won-loss record.

On Thursday, April 17, Ohlone traveled to CCN second place San Mateo, for their final real test of the regular season. Lawrence would take the mound for the Renegades as Ohlone Head Coach Dona Runyon felt Lawrence needed the work as the team gets ready for the post season, and that workhorse Colker needed the rest. The move turned out to be brilliant as Lawrence's natural drop on her fastball made the Bulldog hitters ground into sixteen out of twenty-one outs. She had no strikeouts and also didn't give up any walks.

Offensively, Ohlone batters struck out six times, which needs to be improved as the post-season approaches, but they did scratch out enough singles and walks, along with San Mateo errors, to come away with a 7-1 victory. Cameron had three of the walks, while freshman third baseman Kim Cawley, forced to bat left handed after getting spiked on her glove hand the previous weekend, slapped two singles to left and had two stolen bases. Lawrence's record improved to 3-1.

Up next for the Renegades was last place Foothill of Los Altos Hills, winner of only one game all year. The game was played on Tuesday, April 22, with no results available at press time. The first round of the California Community College Softball Tournament will follow on Saturday and Sunday, May 3 - 4. Ohlone will host first round games in a best two out of three format against an as yet unnamed opponent. Game one will be on Saturday with games two and if necessary, game three, on Sunday. Game times most likely will be 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday followed by game three, if needed. More information will be forthcoming in next week's edition on Wednesday, April 30, of the Tri-City Voice.

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