ROCKVILLE — This time the offense came to play.
The Solano Community College softball team punched its ticket to the upcoming super regional by blasting Butte of Oroville 12-2, completing a sweep of the Roadrunners in the first round of the NorCal regionals, Sunday.
It was the 31st straight win for the second-seeded Falcons (38-2), who had slipped past No. 15 Butte 3-2 in the first game of the best-of-three series, Saturday.
Solano advances to the super regional, which it hosts starting on Friday.
The Falcons got on the board in the top of the first inning when Stephanie Chainurux ripped a two-out triple and Shannon Mestas singled her in.
Solano exploded for four runs in the top of the second as Victoria Faleafine tripled in Jade Bactad, Haley Wink singled in Faleafine, Aleyna Benipayo tripled in Wink and Chainurux singled in Benipayo.
“It’s huge, it was very important,” Solano coach Terri Pearson-Bloom said of the early scoring. “We came out offensively right from the get-go and scored in the first inning. That set the tone. We had a better game offensively, it was a great day for us at the plate.”
After Butte (19-18) pushed across two runs in the bottom of the third inning, the 8-run mercy rule came into play when the Falcons scored three runs in the fourth and five in the fifth.
Chainurux tripled in Britney Taglieri and Wink before scoring when Emily Goode reached on an error in the fourth.
In all, the Falcons had four triples on the day and nearly a fifth.
“We’re great at hitting the ball in the gap,” Pearson-Bloom said. “We have tremendous speed with a lot of our hitters. They can turn those big hits into triples. For the girls, it felt good to make the solid contact and driving the ball like that.”
Then in the fifth, Bactad scored when Taglieri was safe on an error, Benipayo doubled in Wink, Chainurux hit a sacrifice fly that plated Taglieri and Mestas singled to left to score Benipayo.
Chainurux and Benipayo both finished the game 3 for 3 with the former driving in four runs, the latter three.
Mestas and Bactad each had two hits with the former getting two RBIs, the latter getting one.
Amber Takeda (8-1) went the first three innings to get the win, allowing three hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk with one strike out.
Mestas closed things out with two perfect innings, striking out five.
“You work hard all season so you get a great seed,” Pearson-Bloom said. “It’s so important to have home-field advantage. It’s great to win and great to win in our style of play, being very offensive, putting a lot of runs on the board, to shut them down (and end it) in five innings.”
Solano opens the super regional against seventh-seeded Santa Rosa (30-11) at 2 p.m. Friday. Also participating are No. 3 Sierra of Rocklin (37-4) and No. 6 San Joaquin Delta of Stockton (30-12).
In nonconference games, Solano defeated Sierra 5-3 on April 2 and downed Sierra 4-3 on Feb. 18, falling to San Joaquin Delta 4-1 on March 4, the last time the Falcons lost a game.
“We have scouting on all these teams. Obviously, they have scouting on us,” Pearson-Bloom said. “It would probably be better playing somebody we hadn’t played. All three of these teams are very strong. When you get to this round, everyone is strong. It all comes down to who plays better on that day and making the least amount of mistakes. The least amount of errors makes the biggest difference. There’s no room for mistakes when playing such high-level teams.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.