Behind a strong pitching performance from senior Skylar Mitchell, the Del Campo Cougars held the Tigers to one run to end Patterson’s playoff aspirations on Wednesday, May 15 at Del Campo High.

Although Patterson had their opportunities to score against Del Campo, the Tigers were unable to secure a big hit, losing 4-1 in the second round of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III softball playoffs.

“It just came down to discipline. Our discipline at the plate just wasn’t where we would have liked it to be. We were chasing at stuff over our head when we should have been bringing the zone down, and the pitcher (Mitchell) down,” Patterson head coach Jennifer Hamm said following the loss. “Give it to the pitcher (Mitchell). We kept chasing and they continued to keep going there.”

Mitchell was a handful for the Tigers hitters. Her ability to pitch inside and up in the zone led to a to a complete game performance allowing five hits, a walk, an earned run while striking out 10 batters.

“We’ve been doing a good job of that all season long, then all of a sudden today, she just got us fishing, and when you get a team fishing as a pitcher, you just keep going until they stop, and we just couldn’t find the bat to the ball today,” Hamm said.

Patterson ace senior Alexis Zavala pitched six innings while giving up seven hits, four walks and four earned runs.

The Tigers defense was not as sharp behind Zavala, as they were on Monday’s game versus Kimball, and committed three errors on Wednesday.

“Things would have been different I think. Take away a couple miscues in the field and it would have been a one run game. It’s unfortunate, but they had a good season. Can’t really complain,” Hamm said of her defense. “We had our opportunities and we just couldn’t execute on those opportunities. Timing is everything and we just couldn’t connect when the time was right.”

Del Campo drew first blood when sophomore Maddie Lazar drew a walk to start the bottom of the first inning. Following a flyout from senior Emily Rond, senior Grace Gallagher singled. Senior Maddy Braz followed up with a single to left field.

When senior Breanna Murray had trouble fielding the ball, Lazar was able to score giving the Cougars an early 1-0 lead. Zavala induced a groundout from senior Sammie Luckie and a fly out from junior Kelli Capps to end the inning.

Del Campo would resume their attack in the bottom of the second inning.

Junior Ashley McMahon began with a walk before junior Julia Perkins singled. Lazar grounded out, but moved the runners to second and third base on the play. Rond drew a walk, then Gallagher singled to score McMahon.

On Gallgher’s single to center field, sophomore Danielle Werra Torres also had trouble wrangling the ball when fielding the single, allowing Perkins and Rond to score on the play. Zavala got out of trouble to end the rally, but the damage had been done. Del Campo held a 4-0 lead after two innings of play.

Patterson had runners in scoring position in the first and third inning, but were unable to capitalize until the top of the fifth inning.

Sophomore Sariah Perez began with a leadoff double, before junior Xiana Isom was hit by a pitch setting up a first and second no out situation.

Senior Liliana Espinoza advanced the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt, then Werra Torres hit into a fielder’s choice. Perez broke for the plate on Werra Torres’ grounder, and beat the throw home to give the Tigers their first run of the game and set up a potential rally with runners at first and third with one out.

Junior Carli Medina flew out to center field in the following at bat, and Isom’s attempt to tag up and score on the fly out was foiled by Rond, who threw Isom out at the plate, to end the promising rally.

Patterson also had runners on first and second in the top of the seventh inning, but were unable to push any runners in to end their season.

Gallagher went 2-4 with an RBI for the Cougars. Braz and Luckie were 2-3 at the plate.

Perez finished 1-3 with a double and a run for the Tigers.

PI sports writer

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