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Softball beats Fresno City in first of possible three game series

Raechel+Hooper%2C+freshman+catcher+and+first+baseman+bunting+the+ball+at+their+May+2+playoff+game+against+the+Fresno+City+Rams.
Raechel Hooper, freshman catcher and first baseman bunting the ball at their May 2 playoff game against the Fresno City Rams.

Raechel Hooper, freshman catcher and first baseman bunting the ball at their May 2 playoff game against the Fresno City Rams.

Ceejay Willis

Ceejay Willis

Raechel Hooper, freshman catcher and first baseman bunting the ball at their May 2 playoff game against the Fresno City Rams.

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Fresh off their winning the Big 8 Conference Championship, the Cosumnes River College softball team faced off in game one of a best two out of three series against Fresno City College for round one of the California Community College Athletic Association Softball Regional playoffs on May 2.

Things got started right away with Fresno’s sophomore outfielder Kory Brock-Jones hitting a double before being advanced to third when freshman pitcher Aubrey Blankenburg hit a sacrifice bunt. Both the follow up batters though were struck out by CRC’s sophomore pitcher Amanda Horbasch, ending Fresno’s hope at an early run.

“I feel like we played great defense and we also put the bats on the balls,” said freshman shortstop Brenda Velasquez. “We communicated well and in the beginning of the game we were pumped up and we stayed like for the rest of the game.”

In their half of the first inning the Hawks put on an offensive display.

Freshman second baseman Kaitlin Pires beat out a throw to first that was dropped, followed by sophomore outfielder Christin Stein getting a single after a bounced ball to the opposing pitcher and Horbasch ended up being walked after four balls from Fresno’s starting pitcher.

With bases loaded, the Hawks pulled out the first run of the game when sophomore third baseman Hanna Miller singled to bring Pires home, giving CRC a 1-0 lead at the end of the first.

“I think it went really, I think our team played really well and made a lot of good plays,” Miller said. “I think the defense is really what kept us in it today.”

Nothing would come out of the second, or the third, inning for Fresno but the second would be a big one for the Hawks.

After freshman outfielder Daniela Medina and Pires managed to both single off line drives to right field, a sacrifice bunt by Stein put them both into scoring position, which Horbasch took advantage of as she came up to bat. Batting the ball short, leaving it in the infield, Horbasch would have been out at first except that the ball was overthrown and Fresno’s first baseman missed it allowing not only Horbasch to double, but for both Pires and Medina to come home, making the score 3-0 in the Hawks favor.

Not content to end the run scoring there, Miller came to bat and hit a line drive to center field which bounced over the wall netting her a ground rule double and brought Horbasch home for the Hawks fourth run. Velasquez quickly returned the favor with a pop fly out to center field that allowed her to double and bring Miller home for the last run the Hawks would score, giving them a 5-0 lead at the end of the second inning.

“It was nice that with any balls were hit pretty hard we did come up with them,” said head coach Kristy Schroeder. “Obviously we missed a couple of the easier ones which is too bad, but we didn’t let it affect us. And I think that is key in playing at this level in the postseason, if we make mistakes we can’t let it affect us and we’re not doing that.”

While the Hawks scored their last runs in the bottom of the second inning, Fresno scored their last in the top of the fourth. A ball hit to right field by sophomore catcher Naomi Gomez brought home pinch runner freshman outfielder Paris Batts, and another to right field this time by sophomore pitcher Nicole Roberts brought sophomore pitcher Jackie Anzaldo home as well.

At the end of the fourth the score was 5-2 in the Hawks favor, which would be the final score, giving the Hawks the first game out of the possible three game series.

While the team has another match or two against Fresno, and others after that to advance, Velasquez is focused on the experience of the playoffs that she said is an amazing feeling.

“It’s definitely a good experience right now,” Velasquez said. “It’s my first year as a freshman and I’m excited for next year.”

On May 3, the Hawks face off against Fresno again at noon, and at 2 p.m. if the third game is needed to determine who moves on to the next round of playoffs. Even though the Hawks took the first match, Schroeder said there are things to work on in the second match.

“I’d like us to hit more solid balls up the middle,” Schroeder said. “Their pitchers don’t throw as hard, and coming down the end of our season we were facing a lot of real hard throwers so we have to adjust a little bit at the plate so we can make solid contact.”

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Softball beats Fresno City in first of possible three game series