The Lady Grizzlies took the Northern Section California Interscholastic Federation District IV Softball playoffs by storm starting with round one against the Central Valley Falcons on Tuesday, May 16.
After defeating the Falcons 2-1, the Grizzlies moved on to round two against the West Valley Eagles on Thursday, May 18.
Their 8-4 success against the Eagles shipped the Lady Grizzlies to the championship game against the Sutter High School Huskies on Saturday, May 20.
Lassen, seeded third in the playoff bracket, ultimately fell to the first-seeded Huskies by a close score of 6-4.
The May 18 win against the Eagles was a grand success for Lassen as West Valley was initially seeded second in the bracket and was thus assumed to win against the Grizzlies.
At the start of the game, it was looking to be a sure-win for the Eagles. The first inning granted West Valley three runs, and the Lady Grizzlies lacked the ability to counter.
The 3-0 lead continued in West Valley’s favor until the Lady Grizzlies tied up the score in inning three.
During the third inning, Christina Torres unleashed her inner Grizzly with a homerun hit that sent the ball flying out of the park. Along with her run, Torres also brought in Lainey Nevis and Jessie Kerby, who were originally at base.
Though the Grizzlies didn’t score further in the third inning, the girls’ goal was to destroy West Valley’s low expectation, and the 3-3 tie had definitely done the job.
Inning six brought in a run from both teams as Lassen’s Ava Steele managed to sprint her way to the home plate to raise Lassen’s run count to four.
The seventh inning lacked a performance from the Eagles, but the Grizzlies were not about to follow suit.
In the final inning, Lassen saw a triple hit by Kerby after Katie Turner walked and both Dani Nevis and Lainey Nevis had singled. Kerby’s hit brought in the three Lady Grizzlies and nearly doubled the Lassen score.
Torres then reintroduced herself to the bat with a strong hit to left field that brought Kerby home and guaranteed the Grizzlies an 8-4 win.
Throughout the seven innings, Carli Lewis was strong on the mound and pitched to 30 batters. Lewis gave away five hits, four runs and two earned runs; she struck out eight batters.
With a proud smile and a sigh of relief, head coach Hillary Magarrell said, “A great bunch of kids played as a team.”
After the Lady Grizzlies expressed their overwhelming joy to be one of two teams in the league to play in the championship game, the Lassen ladies packed their bags and headed for Sutter High School.
On May 20, the obnoxious heat of Sutter, California did not dissuade the Grizzlies from giving their all at the championship game. In fact, though the game did not result in a Lassen victory, fans may argue that the girls were more pumped up during this game than at any other of the season.
Sutter was first to score during the game with two runs brought in during the bottom of the second inning.
Though slightly off-put from the score, Lassen refused to give up and continued to cheer for their teammates at bat during the top of the third.
In the third inning, Lainey Nevis started off with a single and was followed by a double hit by Kerby. Steele then took her spot at bat and sent the ball flying just far enough to being Lainey Nevis and Kerby in to tie up the score 2-2.
Sutter upped their run total to 4 to spite the Grizzlies during the bottom of the second inning, but the Lady Grizzlies knew the game was not over just yet.
In the fifth inning, Kerby stepped up to bat and nailed a homerun that sent the ball flying past the fence. While the homer was frustrating for many of the Huskies, a few Sutter ladies couldn’t deny how grand of a hit it was; thus, as Kerby passed them by on the diamond, they handed out high fives.
Torres then stood at bat for the Grizzlies for the second time of the game and focused on the words of encouragement being thrown her way from the Lady Grizzly dugout.
After a ball, a strike and a deep breath, Torres swung with full might and also sent the ball past the fence. With the score at 4-4, Torres rounded the bases and met her entire team with a bounce on the home plate and smiles galore.
The Huskies managed another two runs during the bottom of the fifth inning, and with that, the score was settled at 6-4 favoring the home team.
In the post-game huddle, Magarrell said to the girls, “Take this with you. Take the stuff that you’ve learned. Take the team and all of the school spirit and positive stuff with you.”
Upon reflection of the season, assistant coach James Lewis said, “You guys really matured throughout the season. As a team, you guys continually climbed. You never had that drop off; that’s why you’re here. There are only two teams that are here, and it’s you guys and them.” While Lassen did not win the championship game, the team was named runner-up for the post-season playoffs.