After 16 hard-fought pre-conference games, the Lassen Community College softball team was more than ready to open conference play against the Butte Roadrunners.
The Cougars were initially scheduled to take on the Roadrunners March 14, but recent winter storms postponed the home game until Tuesday, March 20.
The home doubleheader resulted in two losses for Lassen, but both matches allowed the Cougars to show focus and dedication on the field for a loyal home crowd.
Head coach Jo Koons said, “I’m proud of how we played the first game. We showed up and competed, and the game just didn’t get the breaks we needed to.”
The first game ended with 4-2 on the board in favor of the Roadrunners, and the second finished in five innings with a score of 14-4.
In the first game, Butte initially gained the lead in the fifth inning when the 0-0 tie was finally broken by two Roadrunner runs.
Lassen was initially unable to respond, but in the bottom of the sixth, the Cougars brought in one run, and in the bottom of the seventh, they tied things up 2-2.
Thus, the Cougars and Roadrunners headed into the eighth inning with the air thick with tension.
Ultimately, the Roadrunners ended the inning with an additional two runs in their favor and Lassen was unable to respond.
The final score was 4-2, Butte.
Sabrina Johnson pitched a full eight innings with 35 batters faced in total. She struck out one, gave up 10 hits, four runs and one walk.
Hannah Thompson and Hanna Ramirez each scored a run for the Cougars with RBIs credited to Maddie Camacho and Brittany Chamberlain.
During the game, Johnson hit a triple and Ramirez managed to steal a base.
On the field, Chamberlain was credited with a double play.
The second game started with Lassen on top of the 1-0 score by the end of the first inning.
Ramirez was first to hit for Lassen during the bottom of the first. While Camacho was at bat, Ramirez stole second, and with a sacrifice bunt from Camacho, Ramirez made it to third.
Ramirez then made her way in after a sacrifice fly from Mia Torres.
Sabrina Jones then singled and followed Ramirez’s strategy by stealing second. Christina Torres walked, and a single from Chamberlain sent Jones to third and Christina Torres to second.
Unfortunately, though the bases were loaded, none of the Grizzlies ran in before a third out was made.
Inning two brought in two runs from the Roadrunners and thus allowed Butte to steal the lead.
Butte then brought in a third run during the top of the third inning.
Lassen responded with three runs during the bottom of the third and thus stole the lead back once again with 4-3 on the board.
During the bottom of the third, Jones walked and advanced to second after Christina Torres singled.
Chamberlain was next on the plate and bunted to send herself to first, Jones to third and Christina Torres to second.
Jill Smith was next at bat, but the Cougars on base would act before Smith got a chance; on a wild pitch, Jones stole home, Christina Torres stole third base and Chamberlain stole second.
Once given the chance to swing, Smith hit a double and brought both Christina Torres and Chamberlain home.
Myrissa Geer bunted to get Smith to third, but a third out was called before Smith could run in.
In the fourth inning, Butte stole the lead for the final time by doubling their run tally.
After the score hit 6-4, Butte, the Roadrunners found that they simply couldn’t slow down.
In the fifth inning, Butte ended it all with a total of eight runs scored.
Lassen, unable to respond, accepted the 14-4 loss.
On the mound for the Cougars in the second game was Johnson for 4.2 innings and Jones for the final 0.1 innings.
Johnson faced 29 batters and gave up 10 hits, 13 runs and one walk.
Jones faced four batters and gave up two hit sand one run.
Though the Cougars didn’t start the Golden Valley Conference on the strongest foot, the orange and black team is confident they will have a season full of hard work, dedication and overall a love of the game.
Koons said, “I’m excited that we get to face Butte again in a few weeks, and an hopeful we will show up and compete again.”