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March 23, 2012 > Women's Softball: Bizarre play gives Ohlone 18th victory

Women's Softball: Bizarre play gives Ohlone 18th victory

By Biff Jones

Ohlone College Renegades softball team was back in action last Thursday. March 15 at home against Coast Conference South (CCS) foe Cabrillo College of Aptos after its long March Madness weekend. Ohlone, seeking its 10th straight Coast Conference North (CCN) Division championship under head coach, Donna Runyon, was undefeated in league play at 5-0 and 16-6 overall.

Getting the start for Ohlone was sophomore southpaw, Katy Bihl from Newark Memorial High School looking for her eighth victory. After a 1, 2, 3 first inning, Cabrillo threatened in the second and third as two runners reached base each inning but Bihl was able to strand all runners.

In the bottom of the third the Renegades opened with three hits; a double by sophomore center fielder, Ashley Vignola, Granada High School, Livermore, and two singles by sophomore third baseman, Kaley Marden, Washington High School and sophomore first baseman, Lauren Ermitano, Castro Valley High School for a 2-0 lead.

That was all Bihl needed as she retired 14 of the last 16 batters she faced, including 10 in a row at one point. One base runner was a single to the state's leading hitter, Sierra Clark hitting over .600, whom Bihl held to 1/3 on the day and the other was a seventh inning base on balls. Bihl improved to 8-4, pitching a three-hit shutout with just one walk.

A game against CCN second place College of San Mateo, 5-1 (25-3 overall) scheduled for Saturday, March 17 was postponed to Saturday, March 31 at noon on the Ohlone Campus.

On Tuesday, March 20, the Renegades traveled to Saratoga for a game with CCS West Valley College Vikings. Freshman Brittany Wright, California High School, San Ramon would get the start. Wright, after starting out the season at 3-0, has been struggling as of late with her control and Coach Runyon hoped lessons with a private pitching coach may have straightened out some flaws found in her mechanics.

In the first inning Ohlone had its first two hitters, freshman shortstop, Marah Nisbet, California High and Vignola reach baser on two West Valley errors but they were unable to score. Vikings' first saw the hosts load the based on two walks and a hit batsman before Wright struck out the last two hitters and keep the score tied at 0-0.

Through five innings, both teams would put runners on base, Ohlone via the base hit and WV via the base on balls and hit batters, but neither could score. Finally in the sixth, after one out, Marden singled and Erimitano followed with a two-run home run for a 2-0 Renegade lead. Both teams then would go relatively quietly until the bizarre bottom of the seventh.

Wright, still struggling with her control, walked the lead-off batter and No. 9 hitter, the pitcher. After an out, a Viking single put the tying runs on base and brought the go ahead and winning run to the plate. Another out brought Wright and the Renegades within one out of a shutout victory.

Next up was the West Valley clean-up hitter, catcher Taylor Batey, who had reached base twice earlier after being hit and walking before striking out. With the count 3-2, two outs and two runners on base, Batey appeared to swing at ball four. However, the ball hit Batey and the plate umpire awarded Batey first base to load the bases. If a player swings at a pitch that ends up hitting the batter, the call is a strike and the batter is not awarded first base. When Ohlone asked the plate umpire to check with the base umpire whether or not the batter had swung at the ball, the base umpire said there was no swing which would have been strike 3 and the game ending out. Instead it was now bases loaded with two outs and Ohlone leading 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh.

Now for the real bizarre play. Up now was first baseman Jessica Barrett who had stuck out twice and flied out earlier. Once again the count would go to 3-2 with two outs and now, bases loaded. After fouling off 2 or 3 pitches, Barrett got one down the middle and she deposited it over the center field fence for what appeared to be a walk off grand slam home run and a 4-2 West Valley win.

As the base runners and batter circled the bases they were jumping up and down with sheer joy. After the first base runner crossed home plate, the second base runner jumped up into the air wanting to come down on home plate with both of her feet. However, the landing missed the plate and before she could go back and tag the plate, the third base runner stepped on home plate. This meant the third base runner had passed the second one and that is an out when a runner is passed on the bases by another runner.

Now the ruling would be that the first base runner scored, the second one never touch the plate so no run, the third runner was out for passing another runner, and the fourth runner's run did not count because the out was the third out of the inning. So instead of a West Valley 4-2 win it was Ohlone 2 West Valley 1.

Remaining regular season home games for Ohlone are the make-up game with San Mateo on the 31st, perennially powerful CCS San Jose City College, Tuesday, April 3, 3 p.m., CCN City College of San Francisco, Saturday, April 7, 1 p.m. and Thursday, April 12, 3 p.m. CCN rival Chabot College.

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