SOFTBALL: Cougars clinch share of league title on Senior Day

Christopher's Kayla Medrano races home to score a run for the Cougars during their game against Monterey earlier this season.

It figures a little drama awaited the Christopher High softball team as it sat one victory from a Monterey Bay League championship Tuesday afternoon in Gilroy. After all, no run to a title is completely bump free.

In the roll of spoiler, visiting Watsonville High made things interesting and brought a few spectators to the edges of their seats, as it pulled to within one run late in the proceedings.

However, the Cougars’ hung on for a  5-4 victory over the Wildcatz, and cleared the way for four seniors to take a happy final bow on Senior Day.

The triumph did indeed clinch at least a share of the MBL crown, as the Cougars finish league play 11-1. Monterey (10-1 MBL) – the lone CHS blemish – closes out the MBL season Thursday against Seaside. A win for the Toreadors there gives them the other half. Should the Spartans pull off the upset, the Cougars would own the banner outright.

In two seasons at the varsity level in the MBL, CHS won a combined 20 games and had just four losses. The Cougars finished second last season and earned the program’s first Central Coast Section berth. A second straight postseason spot is guaranteed.

Seniors Aly Olvera, Mariah Martinez, Olivia Barajas and Kayla Medrano were saluted postgame, surrounded by parents, teammates and fans, and presented with flowers.

The Vanguard University-bound Olvera picked up her 13th win of the season in the circle, striking out 12, including a string of five straight. Martinez, who along with Olvera have teamed up for the Cougars primary starting battery since sophomore year, had a double, single, scored a run and, from behind the dish, picked off a runner at first base. Barajas started in center field Tuesday and reached base twice, including a single. Medrano contributed a hit and a RBI sacrifice fly.

Kaslin Ettema (single) and Martinez (double) each came around to score to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Crystal Guzman’s RBI single in the top of the third pulled Watsonville within one.

Olvera led off the bottom half of the frame with a single and worked her way to third. She finished her round trip on an Ettema fielder’s choice, extending the advantage to 3-1. Medrano’s  RBI sacrifice fly (chasing in Barajas) and a crucial RBI single off the bat of Olvera (scoring Mackenzie Holt) lifted the Cougars to a 5-1 lead after the fifth inning. That RBI proved pivotal, as the Wildcatz used RBI hits from Teresa Medrano and Felicia Balli, and a error cut into the deficit, 5-4, and get the tying run on third base with two outs. Olvera, though, struck out Marley Johnson to end the frame.

Christopher (18-7 overall) plays Mountain View in a nonleague make-up game Thursday. Seeding into the CCS playoffs is Saturday.

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