ROCKVILLE — There’s no better way to enter the postseason than on a serious roll.
The Solano Community College softball team, winner of 29 straight, open the Northern California Regionals at home with a weekend series against Butte College starting Saturday.
Game time is set for 2 p.m., with the second game scheduled for Sunday at noon. The third game, if necessary, would follow Sunday’s first contest.
Needless to say, SCC coach Terri Pearson-Bloom has her team all fired up to make a serious postseason run.
“They are super excited,” the coach said. “We’ve been gearing up all week. There’s a great atmosphere at Solano right now. Practice has been very intense up until (Friday), it was a light day, making sure we stay healthy, tuning up for this weekend.”
“They were second in conference,” she said. “They are a scrappy team. We’ll have to play well to beat them. I think we need to come out and score first, put runs on them early and set the tone, then hold them with defense and great pitching.”
At or near the top of the state rankings all season, the Falcons (36-2) rely on both strong pitching and even better hitting to get the job done.
Mestas is 21-1 on the season with a 1.13 ERA. She hasn’t lost at home, has thrown 12 complete games with seven shutouts while averaging 9.68 strikeouts per game. She has 172 punchouts on the season against just 50 walks in 38 games.
“Shannon excels under pressure,” Pearson-Bloom said. “She throws better in bigger moments with tougher competition. She goes so much harder. . . . She’ll have a great performance.”
Then comes the powerful Solano offense, which averages more than 9.5 runs per outing, second-most in the state, according to cccaasports.org. It also led the state this season with 119 stolen bases and totaled 114 extra base hits on the year.
The team has also compiled a .411 combined batting average.
The Falcons are led by co-State Player of the year Aleyna Benipayo. She hit .552 this season with five doubles, 11 triples and eight home runs while amassing 53 RBIs.
But Benipayo is only one piston in an engine with many. Pearson-Bloom notes that just about every bat in her lineup can put the ball in play.
“Our leadoff hitter, Brittany Taglieri, (her job) is to get on and Aleyna will get her over,” the coach said. “Then Stefanie (Chainurux) will try to get her in. That’s what we do. Taglieri hasn’t struck out all season (in 121 at-bats).
“As long as offense doesn’t get too anxious, sometimes nerves manifest themselves, (the team will excel). We need to stay relaxed. If we do our jobs and don’t make outs, we can get three or four runs in the first inning. . . .We don’t make easy outs.”
You don’t win 29 straight games making easy outs.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.