Redlands Softball Eliminated from SCIAC Postseason Tournament

Redlands' softball concludes their season with an overall record of 26-16 with a 16-12 mark in conference play.
Redlands' softball concludes their season with an overall record of 26-16 with a 16-12 mark in conference play.

The third-seeded University of Redlands softball team traveled to La Verne to compete in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Postseason Tournament under rainy conditions on Saturday against the top-seeded Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Athenas. The Bulldogs succumbed to a powerful Athena offense en route to a game-one loss by the final score of 1-9. The Maroon and Gray then faced off against the fourth-seeded Whittier College Poets in an elimination game and put up a solid fight by going ahead by two runs in the top of the seventh inning but surrendered five runs in the bottom half of the inning en route to a 5-8 defeat, thus ending its season.

In game one, the Bulldogs jumped on the board first in the opening frame as senior left-fielder Grace Rose (Villa Park, CA) touched home on a single up the middle off the bat of senior second baseman Vicki King (Thousand Oaks, CA).

Unfortunately, the Bulldog bats simmered down, as they only added three more hits and were blanked on the scoreboard for the following six innings en route to a 1-9 defeat.

With the loss, the Bulldogs faced off against the Poets in an elimination game after they were mercy-ruled by the top-seeded University of La Verne Leopards, 0-8 (5 inn.), in the first game of the day.

Senior left-fielder AJ Carrasco (Whittier, CA) came around to score on a Poets' defensive miscue in the top of the first inning to hand the Bulldogs an early 1-0 advantage.

Senior hurler Lauren Henson (Riverside, CA) breezed through the first three innings by retiring the side in the first and third frames, forcing an inning-ending double play in the second, and allowing just a mere hit through the streak.

Despite Whittier tying the game up in the bottom of the fourth inning on a Redlands' error, the Bulldogs snatched the lead right back in the top of the sixth inning, compliments of a bases-loaded walk drawn by sophomore pinch-hitter Shannon Skrzynski (Pomona, CA) to grab the lead at 2-1.

However, the Bulldogs surrendered the lead once again in the bottom half of the sixth inning and faced a 2-3 deficit entering into the final frame.

After consecutive errors from the Poets and a successful sacrifice bunt by freshman designated player Hayley Romo (Port Orchard, WA), the Bulldogs found themselves with prime real estate in scoring position with one out. Freshman pinch-hitter Mika Imoto (Vista, CA) drove home King with a fielder's choice to tie the game at three apiece. Junior first baseman Lali Garza (Granite Bay, CA) came up clutch a batter later and laced an RBI-double down the left-field line to put the Bulldogs ahead by one run. Sophomore right-fielder Bev Valerio (Monrovia, CA) continued the RBI trend by slapping a single to right field, scoring freshman pinch-runner Jessica Doss (San Mateo, CA) to hold a 5-3 lead.

Unfortunately, with subpar defensive play and clutch hitting by Whittier, the Bulldogs surrendered five runs the ensuing half inning that included a walk-off grand slam en route to a 5-8 defeat.

Rose finished the tournament by going a total of 4-for-7 at the plate with a run scored to lead the offense. Valerio proved successful at the dish as well, going 4-for-6 with an RBI.

The Bulldogs finish off their season 10 games above .500 with an overall record of 26-16 and a conference record of 16-12. Additionally, Redlands improved their winning percentage from last year by .107 points and added seven more wins as well.