SACRAMENTO -- One mistake can seal the fate of any team in the playoffs.
When then number of blunders continue to rise, the chances of sticking around in the postseason move to slim -- and eventually to none.
The Buhach Colony and Atwater softball teams found that out the hard way on Saturday.
A couple of base-running goofs and two defensive miscues forced BC to depart the Sacramento Softball Complex with a 1-0 loss to Napa in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.
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Atwater trailed Elk Grove Franklin by the same score until everything fell apart in the fifth inning.
After Franklin sent 12 hitters to the plate during a nine-run rally, Atwater was sent home early with a 10-0 loss in a game that was stopped after five innings because of the "mercy rule."
"I sure would have liked to make a better showing than that," said Atwater coach Joe Leonardo, whose team finished the season with a 17-10-1 record. "I know we're capable of it."
BC coach Bobby Dallas had to be thinking the same thing.
Napa (24-4) scored the only run of the game in the top of the third inning with the help of two hits that somehow didn't find their way into the gloves of Buhach Colony players who had chances to make the plays.
Napa's Kalin Calantoc hit a pop fly that fell in between three BC players behind the pitching circle.
With two outs, Calantoc stole second base and came around to score on when Becki Heimbigner's pop fly to short left field fell in between BC left fielder Diane Gallagher and shortstop Morgana Dallas.
"We gave them a run," said Bobby Dallas, whose team finished with a 19-9 record. "It shows up in the scorebook as two hits, but both of those balls should have been caught."
Offensively, Buhach Colony ran itself out of rallies.
BC had one player picked off third by Napa catcher Jay Jay Wagoner with two outs in the fourth inning.
Napa also threw out a runner at the plate on the back end of a double steal attempt with no outs in the sixth inning.
With runners on first and third, BC's Katie Gallagher stole second base. As soon as Wagoner released the ball, Buhach's Kayleena Flores broke for the plate.
However, Napa second baseman Devin Caldwell came up to cut off the throw to second and threw out Flores at the plate.
"A lot of times you get here and teams don't beat other teams -- teams beat themselves," Dallas said. "We beat ourselves."
Atwater went home feeling the same way.
Like BC, it found itself in a tight game through the first four innings.
Franklin pushed across a run in the bottom of the first inning with back-to-back, two-out hits to take a 1-0 lead.
Atwater threatened to score in just about every inning, but Leonardo's girls left six runners on base through the first five innings.
The wheels fell off in the fifth as three Atwater errors opened the door to a nine-run inning.
"You can't make five or six mistakes in one inning, especially on easy ones," Leonardo said. "We should have got out of that inning with no runs.
"We had a few chances to score a run. Who knows? If we scored, it might have made a difference."
Might, but didn't.
And both CCC schools paid the price with exits from the tournament.
Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.