The Lady Grizzlies took down the first two rounds of playoffs with ease on Tuesday, May 16, and Thursday, May 18.
With powerful gusts of wind, occasional sputters of rain, and an enough of a chill in the air to send shivers down the spine, the setting of the May 16 NSCIF Softball Division IV playoff game was not welcoming for fans or players. Yet regardless, the girls persevered.
With a final score of 2-1 after six and a half gruesome innings, the Lady Grizzlies secured their spot in the second round of playoff games.
Prior to taking down Central Valley, the Lassen High softball team was sure to end their league play on a high note with three wins against the U-Prep Panthers between Tuesday, May 9 and Friday, May 12.
The two away games on May 9 were won with scores of 11-1 and 6-0, respectively. The home game on May 12 had a stunning 9-0 score shining on the board to favor Lassen High.
Highlights of the first game on May 9 included a triple hit by Christina Torres and a strong six innings on the mound seen from Carli Lewis.
In the second game, Jessie Kerby stole two bases and both Dani Nevis and Katie Turner stole one. Lewis again pitched a full seven innings with a total of 12 strikeouts.
The May 12 game highlights included Kerby and Torres both hitting a home run to grant them a total RBI count of five and three, respectively. Kerby’s homer was hit in the park while Torres sent the ball flying past the fence
Regarding the May 12 game, coach Hillary Magarrell said, “Carli (Lewis) just threw a no-hitter shutout. It was one walk away from a perfect game.”
After a great season with league record of 11-4, the Lady Grizzlies were seeded second for the NSCIF Softball Division IV playoffs.
The playoff game against the Central Valley Falcons saw a lot of intensity throughout the seven innings, even if the scoreboard refused to show such.
The terribly windy game had a hard start with a score of 0-0 staying firm throughout the first three innings.
With fingers growing numb and cold gusts wreaking havoc in lungs, the Grizzlies were not the only team seen struggling on the diamond. A fourth consecutive inning of great pitches from Lewis kept the Falcons at a no-run score, but the 0-0 tie was soon to be broken by the Grizzlies.
Ava Steele clearly had enough of the nonsense seen on the board and upon her turn at bat, she sent the
Steele rounded first and second and nearly rounded third before listening to her better judgment and staying on base three.
Lewis was up to bat next, and with a wonky pitch not by the catcher, Steele decided to steal home. Her quick dash from third base resulted in her diving forward to reach for home with her fingers fully outstretched. The pitcher seemed to catch the ball and tag Steele nearly in sync with Steele’s tag of the base, but with the close eye kept by the umpire, Steele was declared safe.
With the bold moves from Steele, Lassen had finally broken their no-score streak.
Unfortunately for Central Valley, the Falcons were not able to break their streak so soon.
In the fifth inning, Lassen scored yet again with spirits lifted from Steele’s run and bodies warm with the jitters of winning.
The Grizzlies were on fire behind the plate during the fifth inning as loading the bases seemed to occur from ease. Plus, with the cold sinking deeper and deeper within the fingers of the Falcon pitcher, Central Valley was already starting to accept their defeat.
With three girls on bases and Steele once again at bat, fans were on the edge of their seats. However, much to the disappointment of those eager for another show of Steele’s power, the Falcon pitcher gave up a walk to send Turner home.
Though Turner was the last Grizzly to score for the first round of playoffs, she was not the last softball player to advance the score for the day.
In the seventh inning, Central Valley pulled out a miracle and started to hit the ball with ease. The Grizzlies started the inning secure in their 2-0 lead, but the fire in Falcon eyes was definitely a cause for concern.
Luckily for Lassen, their focus on defense throughout the season paid off. After one earned run, Lewis was sure to finish the Falcons off with one final strikeout.
The 2-1 score left the Grizzlies with smiles and a thirst for more.
Lassen then traveled to West Valley on Thursday, May 18 for the second round of playoffs.
The Lady Grizzlies ultimately won 8-4, thus the girls gleefully made their way to the championship game at Sutter High School on Saturday, May 20.