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April 10, 2012 > Ohlone softball battling for first

Ohlone softball battling for first

By Biff Jones

The Ohlone College softball team played four games last week as they try to win their tenth straight Coast Conference North (CCN) league championship. They entered play last week at 8-2 (20-10 overall) and trailed then first place holders, College of San Mateo (9-1, 29-3), by one game.

On Tuesday, April 3, the Ohlone Renegades hosted Coast Conference South power house, San Jose City College, (8-3, 23-9) a team they've had trouble defeating the last few years. Brittany Wright, started for Ohlone and has been struggling with her control as of late. San Jose struck first with a run in the third inning as Wright walked three around an infield hit. The Renegades answered with a run in the fourth inning on a single by first baseman Lauren Ermitano, a double by second baseman Sarah Ragusa and a sacrifice fly from catcher Shelby Fowler. Ohlone added five more runs in the fifth inning on singles by left fielder Rennelle Traylor, shortstop Mariah Nisbet, third baseman Kaley Marden, right fielder Lauren Poffenbarger and a double by Ermitano. Center fielder Ashley Vignola also reached on a San Jose error. San Jose added two more runs in the sixth before southpaw Katy Bihl came on to pitch the seventh inning and secure the Renegade win 6-3. Wright ended up yielding three runs on four hits, five walks, and a hit batsman while striking out eight. Bihl gave no runs, a hit, a walk and had 2 strikeouts.

On Thursday, April 5, the Renegades traveled to Los Altos Hills to take on CCN Foothill College where they hoped to avoid a let down before hosting San Mateo on Saturday. At the bottom of the first inning, Foothill led off with a single. But when the ball got away from Ohlone's outfielders, the two base error put the lead-off hitter on third base. The next batter laid down a safety squeeze bunt and the Los Altos runner on third scored as she avoided Fowler's tag at home. After an out, Foothill hit consecutive singles to give the hosts an early 2-0 lead after one inning. Ohlone answered in the top of the second inning when starting pitcher Bihl singled and scored on Traylor's two run blast over the left field fence for a 2-2 tie. Meanwhile, Bihl settled down and gave up just one single and a walk with three strikeouts over the next three innings.

The Renegades put the game away with a five-run fourth inning and four-run fifth inning. Leading hitters were Traylor with a home run, double and sacrifice fly; Marden with a triple and a double; Rasguso with a double and a single; Nisbet and Bihl hitting two singles each; and Poffenbarger with a double. Raguso also scored from third base on a passed ball, and Marden had four ground ball assists at third including three in one inning. Wright pitched the fifth inning in the 11-2 game, which was shortened because of the eight-run mercy rule.

Saturday morning, April 6, it was a battle for CCN first place between the league leaders College of San Mateo (CSM) Bulldogs and the second place hosts, the Renegades. Bihl would get the scoring started for Ohlone. In the first inning, after two quick outs, Bihl was unable to handle a high hopper over the pitching circle and the Bulldogs' base runner took advantage of it. This was followed by two singles to give CSM an early 1- 0 lead. Bihl settled down and retired 11 of the next 12 batters, 10 of which by ground ball outs. The bottom of the first inning saw the Renegades lead off hitter, Nisbet, open with a single followed by Vignola being hit with a pitch. Marden then sacrificed the runners to second and third with one out, but the Renegades were unable to get then home. Ohlone later had two runners on base in the fifth inning with one out and again could not score. The best scoring chance for Ohlone came in the sixth inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Bihl then hit a grounder to first but San Mateo threw out the runner at home trying to score from third on a forced play. This was followed by a weak grounder to second that ended the threat.

At the bottom of the seventh inning, with the score still 1-0, Renegades' Poffenbargar led off with a single. She was then made a pinch runner by Jazlyn Jimenez and was thrown out for trying to steal second. Nisbet then delivered her second single of the day and was made the pinch runner by Mackenzie Bush. The next batter, Jamie Costa, was pinch hitting for Vignola and popped out. San Mateo coach Nicole Borg came out and protested that Ohlone never advised the umpires of Bush entering as a pinch runner. After the two umpires conferred, they agreed with Borg's protest and called Bush out for the third out of the seventh to give San Mateo a 1-0 victory and a two game lead in CCN.

Game two of they day saw Ohlone host the CCN last place holders and winless City College of San Francisco. Ermitano got the start for the Renegades and the reserves played most of the game. Results were as expected, and the game lasted four and a half innings with Ohlone winning 14-0. Ermitano gave up a double and a walk and struck out eight batters. Traylor and Costa each scored a homer for Ohlone, with Traylor's being of the inside-the-park variety. The final home game of the regular season will be Thurday, April 12 at 3 p.m. against CCN rival Chabot College. The game will be Sophomore Day, where Ohlone shows appreciation to their sophomore players. The Renegades can still secure a post season playoff berth with a first or second place finish in CCN.

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