NBL softball: Panthers slam Pumas

By DANIEL POULTER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

All Santa Rosa’s softball team needed was one swing of the bat by Alison Wendler to put the Panthers up for good against Maria Carrillo on Thursday.

Wendler, a junior, hit a grand slam in the bottom of the third inning to fuel Santa Rosa’s 5-2 victory.

The Pumas’ loss, coupled with Rancho Cotate’s 11-0 win Thursday against Montgomery, means Rancho Cotate wins the North Bay League title outright.

In the third inning, the Panthers loaded the bases on three singles. Wendler swung at the first pitch from Maria Carrillo pitcher Robin Johnson, launching the ball past the reach of outfielder Brittney Veler and over the left-field fence.

Maria Carrillo’s Natalie Oropeza tripled in the fifth inning to break up Johanna Peelen’s no-hit bid, but she was stranded at third.
Maria Carrillo scored its first run in the top of the sixth when Johnson’s single drove home Jillian Rice, who had singled and advanced to third on a wild pitch and a stolen base.

Santa Rosa pushed the lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Karina Banks, who had doubled, came home on Briana Doane’s double.

Maria Carrillo pushed across one more run in the top of the seventh but Peelen shut the door on any thoughts of a rally. Peelen went the distance, allowing five hits with one walk and six strikeouts. She was particularly effective against the middle of the Pumas' lineup — Mikaela Francis, Veler and Shelby Holzworth, all three with batting averages above .500 — who combined to go 0 for 9 on Thursday.

“She (Peelen) did an outstanding job today, and I have been using her more and more as the season has gone on,” said Santa Rosa coach Jeff Pratt.