NCS softball playoffs: Analy routs Campolindo

By ERIC WITTMERSHAUS
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — Looking at Analy’s softball team immediately following Friday’s 11-1, five-inning rout of Campolindo in the second round of the NCS playoffs, you’d never guess the Tigers won.

After putting the Cougars away on Madi Ortega’s three-run double in the bottom of the fifth, Analy got a stern talking to from coach Nick Houtz after a pair of freak collisions on the base paths injured Campolindo shortstop and leadoff hitter Rebecca Crisp.

Twice in three fifth-inning plays, Analy runners bowled over Crisp as she tried to field a grounder on the base line, resulting in two outs on interference calls.

Crisp stayed down on the ground a long time after each play. The second collision, on which Crisp may have sustained a concussion accoding to Cougars coach Joe Long, seemed to unnerve Houtz the most.

“That makes us look like a bunch of chumps,” he told his dugout from his third base coaching spot.

After the game, Houtz said the two plays, which both coaches called youngsters’ mistakes, marred an otherwise dominating performance.

“The kids didn’t do it on purpose, but it makes a good win look bad,” the coach said.

Analy pitching phenom Megan Winters, who struck out 14 batters in a win over Campolindo earlier this month, was dominant again Friday. Before the Tigers busted out for a seven-run fourth, it looked like the story of the game might be a no-hitter by Winters. A pair of base hits, a throwing error and a run in the top of the fifth, when Analy had a huge lead, were her only blemishes.

Campolindo’s hitters looked overmatched until after they fell far behind and took a more aggressive approach. Early on, the Cougars were content to hope for a walk. Coach Long repeatedly reminded his players to be aggressive.

“We knew what (Winters) could do,” Long said. “The idea was to get their bats on the ball early in the at-bat.”

Winters said her previous outing against Campolindo helped her prepare for Friday.

“I knew they had trouble hitting me, and I tried to put a lot of spin on the ball,” she said. “They couldn’t hit my change-up.”

For three innings, it looked as if Winters would be locked in a duel with Campolindo pitcher Shelley Suhling. The only early-game scoring came in the bottom of the third when Analy’s Hillary Brennan scored after a walk, a stolen base, a wild pitch and an error.

The Tigers broke the game open in the fourth, when they scored seven runs on six hits and a pair of errors.

Cleanup hitter Ortega singled, walked and scored two runs in the inning, and No. 6 hitter Jenna Petray singled twice.

Also in the fourth, Maria Ragusa drove in two runs with a ground-rule double. She went 3-for-4 with two doubles on the afternoon.
Ragusa said seeing Suhling a few weeks ago helped, but that she was dialed-in Friday.

“I just focused on following the ball and watched the spin,” she said of her approach at the plate.

Winters was thankful for all the offense provided by her young teammates — Analy starts just two seniors. “I was glad they picked it up,” Winters said. “I’m truly proud of them.”

Up next for the Tigers will be top seed San Marin (22-1), which beat Eureka 12-2 on Friday. The Mustangs knocked Analy out of the playoffs last season, and Ragusa said her team will be out for “revenge.”

“It was a tough loss last time,” Ragusa said. The Mustangs will entertain the Tigers at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Eric Wittmershaus is The Press Democrat’s online sports editor. You can reach him at 521-5433 or eric [dot] wittmershaus [at] pressdemocrat [dot] com.