A late-game offensive rally for the Lady Chargers was just not enough to overcome an eight-run deficit in the CCS Division I softball championship on May 30. Wilcox fell to the San Benito Haybalers 8-5 at PAL Stadium on the hot, Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Laura Stott put senior Amanda Ramirez in the circle for the Chargers in hopes of shutting down the powerful Baler offensive–an offense in which all nine of the players in the starting lineup possessed a batting average of .350 or above. Ramirez seemed to be best candidate for the job, sporting a 22-4 record and 1.14 E.R.A. in her previous 23 games of work this season.
Wilcox, the designated visiting team, struggled early against senior hurler Adrianna Ibarra, who retired the Chargers in order through the first three innings.
San Benito got off to a better start against Ramirez, drawing first blood in the bottom of the second. Ramirez was able to pitch herself out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out the Balers’ first and second place hitters to end the inning.
However, the bottom of the third was ultimately what sealed Wilcox’s fate. A total of 11 hitters stepped into the box for the Haybalers during that inning, and seven of them would eventually score on five hits and two walks. The score was 8-0 after three innings.
Wilcox responded with a big inning of their own in the top of the fourth. The first hit of the day for the Chargers came off the bat of junior Jessica Bradley with a single to right field. Then, after a wild pitch brought Bradley to second and a walk to senior Hailey Thompson, both scored on a groundball hit by Ramirez, which resulted in a throwing error by the Balers’ second-baseman. Ramirez would reach third on the play and go on to score on a fielder’s choice hit by senior Breanna Ledesma.
Ramirez and the Chargers defense would shut down San Benito’s offense for the remainder of the game.
After a quiet fifth inning, junior Natalie O’Connor came up to the plate in the sixth with Thompson and Ramirez on first and second and drove in both with a triple to right field. However, a scoreless top of the seventh ended the game and the season for Wilcox.
The Lady Chargers finished the year with a 23-6 overall record and a nearly perfect 11-1De Anza division record earned them the distinction of being De Anza league champions.
Stott will be losing eight seniors — a big chunk of the Chargers’ roster, no doubt. She says that the seniors’ consistency and passion for the game will be greatly missed next season.
“They have been consistent for four years,” said Stott. “We had that solid group of seniors that wanted nothing more than to be in [the championship] game and they have fought for it.”
Thompson attributes the success of their season to not only the undeniable chemistry of her team but also the closeness between her and her fellow seniors. “I am definitely going to miss my seniors,” said Thompson. “Without them it’s just not going to be the same. We will always have each other’s backs on and off the field.”