SACRAMENTO -- A third consecutive Central California Conference title left the Buhach Colony softball team prepared for just about anything the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs could throw at it.
Everything that is, except a little gas.
The CCC lacks any true power pitchers, meaning BC only saw a handful of hard throwers during its non-conference schedule.
The lack of experience against elite pitching showed on Saturday afternoon as Buhach struggled to make contact with Elk Grove Pleasant Grove's Ally Carda in a second-round matchup.
Carda allowed just one hit and struck out 15 to help Pleasant Grove to a 1-0 victory.
The loss brings BC's season to the brink in the double-elimination tournament. Bobby Dallas' squad will be in action again today against Napa in an elimination game at 5 p.m. If Buhach wins, it'll play again at 7 p.m.
"You can't simulate speed," Dallas said. "Some of our younger players just haven't seen anyone like (Carda), and it showed."
BC pitcher Alex Molina did everything in her power to counter Carda's dominance.
Molina scattered eight hits over seven innings, but managed to make a big pitch every time she needed it. Pleasant Grove went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, but unfortunately, even that wasn't enough.
Pleasant Grove (23-5) opened the sixth with back-to-back singles and sacrificed the runners over to second and third.
Molina got exactly what she was looking for, forcing Alex Bailey to bounce a ground ball to second base. The ball, however, carried just far enough to Kayleena Flores' right, that she had no play at the plate and was forced to settle for the out at first.
"I knew it was going to be a low-scoring game and that I couldn't let them get many runs," Molina said. "The defense was all over the place today, I was just trying to keep things close until we started swinging the bats better."
BC's bats never woke up.
Molina was the only Buhach player to reach base against Carda, singling in the second inning. BC (23-5) hardly challenged the Pleasant Grove defense, only putting seven balls in play in the game.
"We played good defense, we just didn't make enough contact," Dallas said. "In close games like this, you have to put pressure on the other team's defense and we didn't do it."