Pumas prevail in clash of NBL softball elite

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Rancho Cotate catcher Carolina Camacho reaches to tag out Maria Carrillo's Randi McMahan at home during the game at Maria Carrillo High School, April 7, 2014. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason, The Press Democrat)

Rancho Cotate catcher Carolina Camacho reaches to tag out Maria Carrillo’s Randi McMahan at home during the game at Maria Carrillo High School, April 7, 2014. (Photo by Crista Jeremiason, The Press Democrat)

After a shaky start, pitcher Robin Johnson was nearly untouchable in the late innings as Maria Carrillo rallied for a 5-4 victory over visiting Rancho Cotate in an NBL game Monday.

Johnson surrendered four runs in the first three innings and then limited the Cougars to one hit in their final four at-bats.

While Johnson was holding the Rancho bats in check, the Cougars scored three in the fifth to overcome a 4-2 deficit.

See game photos here

“At the start it was a combination of nerves and rustiness,” the right-hander said. “I hadn’t pitched in 11 days and was having trouble with my release point. I got into a groove in the fourth and kept it through the end of the game.

“I was confident that if I kept Rancho from scoring again, we’d rally and win the game.”

The Carrillo fifth started with Jaymee Donovan being hit by a pitch. After Brittney Veler flied out to center, Johnson doubled.

Hannah Chew knocked in the first run with a single. The tying run scored when the catcher dropped the ball on a force play at home.

Then, freshman Bethany Devault’s line drive got underneath the glove of pitcher Brittney Scardina and bounded into center field. That allowed Chew to score with the go-ahead run.

Chew, Veler and Randi McMahan finished with two hits apiece.

Veler, who suffered an injury to the pinkie finger on her right hand early in the game, had a home run and triple in her first two at bats.

“The girls found a way to win,” coach Lonnie Harwell said. “They didn’t give up when they were down three runs going to the bottom of the third. They kept fighting and at the end, it paid off.”

Rancho scored two in the first with singles by Carolina Camacho and Janaea Mason keying the uprising.

The Cougars added two more in the third. Freshman Taylor Del Santo had the big hit, a two-run double that short-hopped the outfield fence.

Rancho, with only two seniors on the roster, came into the game with a 6-0-1 record.

Coach Dave Johnson, who picked up his 200th career win last week, saw a silver lining despite the loss.

“Carrillo’s a veteran team and I can’t feel bad losing to them,” he said.

“That fifth inning was a killer. We helped them with an error and hit batter, but we’re young and the girls will take this as a learning experience.

“I thought Scardina pitched well. She’s had trouble all season getting her change-up over the plate but she was throwing it for strikes in this game. That was encouraging.”

Scardina is a freshman.

The Cougars, 2-1 in league, will be back in action today at Cardinal Newman.

Carrillo, 8-3 and 2-0, also plays today with Ukiah coming to town.

high school softball

NBL

AT MARIA CARRILLO

Rancho Cotate     202     000     0     —     4   6   2
Maria Carrillo     101     030     x     —     5   8   1

WP: Robin Johnson, LP: Brittney Scardina

RC: Carolina Camacho 1×3; Kristine Ricossa 1×4; Janaea Mason 1×3; Vickie Espinoza 1×2; Katie Rohrer 1×2; Taylor Del Santo 1×3, 2B.

MC: Brittney Veler 2×4, HR, 3B; Johnson 1×4, 2B; Hannah Chew 2×3; Randi McMahan 2×3; Bethany Devault 1×3.

Records: RC 6-1-1, 2-1; MC 8-3, 2-0

Comments are closed.