Lady Mustangs go out swinging

Senior first baseman Jenna Daugherty connects for her first of

Hot-hitting DeLorenzo left on deck in No. 9 Gilroy’s 5-2 loss to
No. 1 Carlmont
REDWOOD CITY – Junior catcher Bria DeLorenzo waited in the on-deck circle – praying for another chance to step to the plate in Friday’s CCS quarterfinal match-up against top-seed Carlmont at Hawes Field in Redwood City.

After singling in her first three at-bats, DeLorenzo wanted one more hack against Lady Scots’ junior hurler Jerrica Castagno – who was flirting with danger by putting two runners on and the tying run at the plate.

But with no outs in the top of the seventh inning and Carlmont ahead by a three-run margin, Castagno retired the next three Lady Mustangs in order – not allowing DeLorenzo to even enter the batter’s box and eliminating No. 9 Gilroy (15-15) from the Division I Playoffs by a score of 5-2.

“I really was hoping to get another at-bat. I was really seeing the ball well today,” said DeLorenzo, as she wiped away her tears like so many of her teammates. “I wanted this game so bad. We had hitting today… I thought we’d come away with the win.”

Instead, DeLorenzo’s next at-bat will not come until the start of next season – while five Lady Mustangs played in their final high school softball game.

“It will hurt for a couple of days,” said senior ace Jennifer Olvera, a first-team All-Leaguer who tossed a six-hitter and allowed only three earned runs in her final outing for Gilroy High. “We came out hard. I think we came prepared. They’re just a great team.”

Along with Olvera, the loss marked the end for Gilroy’s senior corps of third baseman Cherise Martinez, first baseman Jenna Daugherty, second baseman Dallas Hernandez and centerfielder Laura Hennessee.

“I’ll always miss playing high school ball. We had a good group. It was a real fun team to play with,” said Hernandez, an honorable mention in her only season at Gilroy High. “Without the few errors, we stay in the game. But at the same time, they are a great team. They played well. The key was their slides and key hits.”

The Lady Scots struck for two runs in the second inning to take their first lead and followed with two runs in the third inning to take the lead for good – adding a fifth insurance run in the sixth frame.

“It’s frustrating because we played with such intensity,” said second-year skipper Julie Berggren, after consoling her team in one final post-game chat. “We never gave up. The runners we put on in the top of the seventh showed that.”

Following Carlmont’s two-run bottom half of the second, the Lady Mustangs immediately retaliated with two runs of their own in the top of the third inning to tie the score at 2-2.

“To come back showed we were not ready to lay down,” said Berggren, whose squad had nine hits on the day. “(Carlmont) came in knowing they beat us twice and that we never scored on them. They probably thought it was going to be an easy game playing the ninth seed.”

Gilroy broke its scoring hex – starting with a lead-off base hit via sophomore shortstop Kayla Aldridge (2-for-3). After sophomore Francesca Lopez fanned for the first out, Olvera worked a base-on-balls and DeLorenzo loaded the bases with a bloop single to center. Up next, Martinez drove in a run on her grounder to short – which resulted in a force out at third base. Then, Daugherty (2-for-3, double) evened things up with a clutch RBI single to right-center field.

“I got down a little after they scored the first two runs,” DeLorenzo said. “We just came back and it was unbelievable… In the seventh inning, we were still fighting.”

Carlmont – which scored its first two runs on a pair of Gilroy errors – earned its next two, putting together a walk and three consecutive singles to reclaim a two-run advantage.

Gilroy threatened with base knocks in each of the next three frames – but all three runners were erased from the base paths before another comeback could be mounted. Carlmont catcher Celeste Cabral gunned down both Aldridge, in the fourth, and freshman pinch-runner Marissa Nowakowski, in the fifth, on steal attempts.

In the sixth, Daugherty blasted a sky-high shot deep into centerfield for a double. But her momentum carried her past second base and, thanks to a quick relay to the infield by Carlmont, Daugherty was tagged out on the third-base side of the bag.

But the Lady Mustangs had even more left in them as they stepped up for their final at-bats. Junior rightfielder Jessica Sandoval and freshman leftfielder Kristen Campos both clubbed singles to lead-off the top half of the seventh inning. The Gilroy rally fell short with Aldridge striking out for the first out, pinch-hitter Christina Hernandez grounding out for the second out, and Olvera grounding out for the final out.

“Without those errors early on, it could have been a completely different game,” Berggren said.

The Lady Scots advanced to Wednesday’s CCS Semifinals where they will take on Hollister at PAL Stadium in San Jose at 7 p.m. The other semifinal match-up at 4:30 p.m. pits Santa Teresa against North Salinas.