Patterson had a six-out lease left on their playoff life against Kimball High during the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III softball playoffs on Monday, May 13.
A three-run fifth inning by the Jaguars had Patterson searching for more offensive support, as they entered the bottom of the sixth trailing 3-1. With their backs against the wall, the Tigers did not panic.
Sophomore Sariah Perez got the Tigers going with a one-out single. Junior Xiana Isom doubled on a shot to left field, scoring Perez and closing the deficit to 3-2. Senior Liliana Espinoza popped out, but sophomore Danielle Werra Torres kept the rally alive with a single to center field, setting up runners on first and third with two outs for junior Carli Medina.
Medina took a pitch before belting a shot to right field that landed just out of the reach of Kimball junior Faith McCarrell, scoring both Isom and Werra Torres. What was a one-run deficit became a one-run lead.
“I was just thinking of going to the right side because I wanted to move over the runners and get them in,” Medina shared. “I was really happy that my hitting came through, especially in this big moment.”
Medina’s shot gave Patterson the lead, but senior Carolyn Dallimore offered the Tigers some insurance when she scored Medina by driving a frozen rope to left field, giving Patterson a 5-3 lead.
Senior Alexis Zavala made the lead stick by sitting the Jaguars hitters down in order in the top of the seventh, to capture Patterson softball’s first playoff win since 2010.
“We’ve been doing this all season, fighting back in the last few innings. I knew these girls had it in them,” head coach Jennifer Hamm said following the victory. “Defensively I knew we would be solid, offensively it was just a matter of time for them to start finding the ball to the bat, and they eventually started finding it in the sixth inning.”
Medina ended the game going 1-4 overall, with two RBIs and a double.
Werra Torres was on base plenty for Patterson. The sophomore was 3-4 with a run, a double and a stolen base.
Isom was perfect at the plate. She finished 3-3 with a run, a double and an RBI.
Kimball junior Rylie Costa was a flawless 2-2 at the dish with an RBI. Senior Marissa Magana and sophomore Aracili Navarrete had an RBI each.
Jaguar starter Emma Anderson threw all six innings for Kimball. The senior finished the game giving up nine hits, four earned runs, and two walks with two strikeouts.
Zavala pitched a complete game allowing six hits, three earned runs and four walks while striking out three. She has been invaluable for the Tigers on the mound the past few seasons, and Hamm shared that she never has a shortage of belief in her experienced ace.
“She’s someone that gets on the mound and doesn’t let anything bother her,” Hamm said. “I have all the confidence in the world with Alexis.”
In their third year in a row qualifying for playoffs, the Tigers captured a playoff win that has eluded the program in previous campaigns. Hamm viewed it as a chance for her squad to shake off the pressure, and settle in as they move forward.
“It feels good for the girls. I think it’s more of a confidence booster. They got their nerves out, and I think now they’re just ready to continue playing and going through this journey of going for a section title,” Hamm said about ending the playoff win drought that has plagued the program the last nine years.
The road will only get harder from here
Waiting for Patterson in the second round is Del Campo High. Del Campo finished the season 20-4 overall and 11-1 in the Capital Athletic League for first place in conference play.
The second-seeded Cougars drew Cordova in the first round, and defeated them by a final of 2-0 to advance.
Del Campo as a team averaged .389 at the plate with a .451 on-base percentage, and has scored a total of 173 runs this season. The pitching staff has been excellent this spring, with a 1.93 ERA.
Seniors Sammie Luckie and Maddy Braz were the top run producers with 28 and 22 RBIs respectively.
Luckie did so while hitting .500/.514/.772/1.287 in 72 plate appearances.
Braz put together a .525 average at the plate for second highest on the squad. Braz finished with a .575 on base percentage, .819 slugging and 1.395 OPS .
Senior Skylar Mitchell led the team in hitting, with a .527 average in 62 plate appearances, but she was even more dominant on the mound. Mitchell led the team with 91.2 innings pitched this season. She finished with an impressive 1.60 ERA for a 12-3 record during her starts. She scattered 36 hits, 21 earned runs, 26 walks while striking out an eye-popping 121 strikeouts during that span. Hitters are batting a miniscule .105 against Mitchell.
Senior Emily Rond was Del Campo’s second most used pitcher of the year, with 33 innings pitched to her name. Rond finished with a 2.33 ERA and a 5-0 record in six games as a starter. She allowed 16 hits, 11 earned runs, three walks while punching out 24 hitters.
The game will played at 3 p.m. at Del Campo High School on Wednesday.