CHS concludes its first season at the varsity level with a
17-11-1 record, which includes the first playoff victory in school
The seventh-seeded Christopher High softball team kept the No. 2 Capuchino High Mustangs in its sights through five innings of play during Saturday’s Central Coast Section Division III quarterfinals matchup at Hawes Park in Redwood City.
However, a tight 2-1 tilt in favor of the Mustangs entering the bottom of the sixth turned into an insurmountable four-run deficit in an eventual 5-1 CHS loss, bringing the Cougars’ championship run to a close.
“I don’t think they could’ve done anything different,” CHS manager Larry Nabzeska said of his players’ effort. “They played as well as they were capable of playing. We make mistakes. We’re just a pretty young team and mistakes are going to be made.”
Four Cougars’ errors led to three unearned runs for the Mustangs, but it was the three-run sixth that ultimately doomed the Cougars.
“My heart dropped. We were so close,” said junior starting pitcher Aly Olvera, who went the distance, striking out three. “We could’ve totally won.”
Olvera held the Mustangs in check for much of the game and allowed just six hits.
“The first five innings I thought I had them cause they were all grounding out,” Olvera said.
But Capuchino separated itself in the bottom of the sixth, getting two runners on ahead of ninth-place hitter Jessica Shelton. Shelton belted a triple to left, scoring both teammates and lengthening the lead to 4-1. Home run hitter, Navarro followed with a triple of her own, scoring Shelton for the final run of the game.
Capuchino (20-6) scored in the bottom of the first inning, putting the Cougars in a 1-0 hole until the top of the third inning when they finally retaliated. Olvera came up to bat with two outs and hit a solid ground ball up the middle for a single. Mariza Rodriguez stepped up to the plate next and hit a hard line drive to right field, which found its way past the fielder for an RBI triple, scoring Olvera to tie the game 1-1.
However, the Mustangs left no time for the CHS (17-11-1) to revel in the small victory in the bottom half of the inning. Junior catcher Jamie Navarro crushed an inside-the-park home run to left-center to put Capuchino back up 2-1.
“We’ve got down more than one, and we’ve came back before,” Rodriguez said.
Both sides battled in the fourth and fifth innings, neither scoring, leaving it 2-1 before the fateful sixth inning.
The Cougars were retired in order in both the sixth and seventh innings.
CHS’s eventful inaugural varsity campaign included a second-place showing in the Monterey Bay League to earn an automatic bid into the playoffs, becoming the fist team from CHS do make a postseason appearance. The Cougars didn’t let the opportunity pass then by, either, picking up a Round 1 6-5 win over Pacific Grove in 10 innings.
“For a first year varsity program and the second year the program has been in existence and we get to the quarterfinals in CCS, how can you feel bad?” Nabzeska added.