ROCKVILLE — Winning two games in a day against another powerhouse team is tough.
Sunday, Solano couldn’t get past the first one.
The Sierra College softball team scored early and often – thanks to poor defensive play by Solano – and rolled to a 10-1, five-inning victory over the Falcons in the championship round of the NorCal Regionals.
If SCC (40-4) had won the first, they would have had to beat Sierra again to grab a spot in the state tournament.
“We made a mistake in the outfield on a fly ball and it cost us a lot of runs (early),” Falcons coach Terri Pearson-Bloom said. “Those things are momentum changers. We made way too many errors today. Most of the runs were unearned. I don’t know if it was the pressure because it’s different in the postseason. Some people rise to the occasion and some people are overwhelmed by the occasion. It varies from kid to kid.
“In this game right there, you didn’t see our best defense and you’re never going to win without your best defense.”
Pearson-Bloom noted that starting pitcher Shannon Mestas pitched well enough to win, but the defense behind her wasn’t there.
“(Pitcher Shannon Mestas) threw fine,” the coach said. “She wouldn’t have had to throw to so many hitters and she wouldn’t have had so much pressure on her if the defense would have performed.
“When you’re going to face six, seven, eight, nine additional batters . . . then it’s going to lead to big innings.”
Mestas finished the game allowing just six hits while walking four and striking out five. Her only mistake was giving up a three-run homer.
“It was amazing,” she said. “This has been a championship program for a long time and it’s going to continue to be a championship program. They took it to a whole new level this year with some of the records they broke. They set the bar pretty high for any other team to try and pass. Now we have a challenge in front of us. I told them that they are going to be right here next year and now you know what it takes to get over that hump and win a Super Regional.
“We knew it was going to come down to us and Sierra the whole time. That’s what we expected. It was going to be a battle between us and Sierra. We should have beat them on the first day (Saturday’s 7-6 loss). It’s really hard to come into the (last) day and win two. It would have been an incredible accomplishment because you lose all that momentum (after Saturday’s defeat). You’re just an underdog at that point. But they battled, they fought. I know that Sierra feared us the most in this tournament. We knew right where it was going to come down to.”
Aleyna Benipayo had two of Solano’s four hits Sunday, while Stefanie Chainurux and Mestas had the other two.
Reach Brian Arnold at 427-6969 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barnolddr.