Buhach Colony coach Becky Gibson threw every pitcher she could against Ponderosa on Tuesday, as Jordan Reyes, Mary Castillo and Dyonne Vargas took turns in the circle.
However, there was no slowing the Bruins’ bats.
Ponderosa pounded 14 hits on its way to an 8-3 win over host Buhach Colony in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs Tuesday. The Bruins will face Sierra Foothill League champ Roseville in the second round Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
“We did, we threw everyone we had at them and then some,” Gibson said. “They’re a good team and we’re a good team. They just outhit us.”
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The Thunder (14-7) couldn’t recover after Ponderosa exploded for six runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Bruins (14-6-1) sent 10 hitters to the plate to erase a two-run deficit. The lead was too much to overcome, even for a team that has made late-inning rallies time and again this season.
“We’ve been doing it all year,” said Katrina Wilson, who had two of Buhach Colony’s five hits. “We come back late in the game. I don’t know why we wait so long. I guess we like the suspense.”
The Thunder’s defensive skills were on display early as outfielders Allie Clarot and Sabrina Alvarado threw out runners at the plate on back-to-back singles in the second. Both threw perfect strikes to catcher Miranda Collins.
The Bruins finally broke through in the third when Veronica Greene and Madison Anderson hit back-to-back doubles to give Ponderosa a 1-0 lead. After giving up four hits in the first three innings, Gibson brought in Castillo to relieve Reyes.
The Thunder answered in the fourth against Ponderosa starter Terra Jerpbak. Hunter Gibson hit a two-out single up the middle to score Castillo, who barely avoided the tag by Ponderosa catcher Erin Anderson to tie the score 1-1.
The Bruins then made a mental mistake on defense as Alvarado hit a grounder to shortstop McKenna Rickles, who scooped the ball and threw to second base. The only problem was there wasn’t a Buhach Colony runner on first base. The mistake allowed Clarot to score from third.
The mistake was compounded when Ponderosa second baseman Greene still tried to get Alvarado at first, but her throw was wild, allowing Gibson to score and give the Thunder a 3-1 lead.
The lead didn’t last long as Greene hit a two-run homer off Castillo in the sixth to tie the score 3-3. A double and an error led to another Buhach Colony pitching change, with Vargas coming in.
The Bruins continued to tack on runs with the help of wild pitches, stolen bases and singles by Cassidy Lujan, Deva Bharne and Bailey Nordquist.
It wasn’t long before the Thunder was coming to grips with the end of its season.
“It’s really hard,” Wilson said. “I’ve spent four years growing up on this field, and saying goodbye to this field now is really hard. These girls made this a fantastic season, and I’m going to miss them.”