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West Ranch softball loses in second round

Posted: May 22, 2014 9:47 p.m.
Updated: May 22, 2014 9:47 p.m.

West Ranch didn’t expect to see its season end so early.

But for the co-Foothill League champion Wildcats, who were the last league team standing, the difficulty of the CIF-Southern Section Division I postseason cost it on Thursday afternoon.

The Wildcats fell 5-1 to Cypress High, the No. 2 seed out of the Empire League, in Thursday’s second-round matchup at Cypress High School to end its season at 23-7.

“I was still disappointed in the way the intensity level was,” said West Ranch head coach Bob Shults, who added that he felt his team was too loose on Thursday. “It’s the mindset: In order to win these games, all these teams are equal right now.”

The damage was effectively done with two swings of the bat, as Cypress scored all five runs on two long balls to advance to the quarterfinals.

Cypress (21-8) jumped on West Ranch pitcher Brandi Burgin in the first, taking a 3-0 lead on a three-run home run off the bat of the Centurions’ Infinity Laufou.

The Wildcats had a chance to tack on some runs in the third inning when Julia Lombardi came to the plate with runners on the corners and one out.

But her hard-hit line drive to first was snagged by Sarah Hamre, who stepped on first to end the inning.

“Our pitchers made a couple mistakes early, we gave up two big home runs and fell behind,” said Shults of Burgin and relief pitcher Lexi Sorensen. “Whenever we came up with runners on we just couldn’t get those hits today.

We just couldn’t come through. We got a couple line drives that got doubled up. Little mistakes like that; It’s the little tiny mistakes that will cost you the game.”

Inessa Lopez opened things up in the third with a two-run home run to center that gave the Centurions a 5-0 lead.

West Ranch got on the board in the fifth when Jessica Harper reached on an error, allowing Lombardi to score the Wildcats’ lone run.

That brought West Ranch within 5-1.

The Wildcats tried to rally late, putting runners on the corners with one out in the top of the seventh inning.

But West Ranch couldn’t plate either Lauren Lindvall, nor Keeley Walsh and the threat fizzled to end the season.

“We battled every inning out there,” Shults said. “The kids were battling -- we battled all the way through every inning. We had baserunners on all the way to the end.”

The Wildcats entered the 2014 season with high expectations after advancing to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS Division I bracket last season.

Their confidence was clear last week when they wrapped up their third Foothill League title with little celebration.
But things never came together on Thursday, and now a Wildcats team that will lose eight seniors, including starters Lindvall, Mollie Sorenson, Lombardi, Tawni O’Brien, Jenny Metcalf and Brandi Burgin, is forced to look ahead to next season.

Pitcher Lexi Sorensen, who was the team’s starter until an injury midway through league, is expected to return, along with some young faces that made impacts, such as Jacklyn Napoli, Jessica Harper, Walsh and Megan Smith.

“The last two games we’re definitely right there,” Shults said. “I know there has been talk within our division that we need to go down (from division I to division II). Heck no, we need to stay right where we’re at.  I do not want to go down to division II or III. We could have beat this team today. If we played them tomorrow, we’d probably beat them.”


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