With the College of San Mateo softball team one strike away from elimination, sophomore Ashley Rincon delivered a dramatic walk-off home run that gave the Bulldogs new life in the Northern California playoffs on Sunday.
With CSM already trailing No. 7 seed Shasta 1-0 in the best-of-three first-round series and down to their last strike in Game No. 2, Rincon belted a three-run homer on a 1-2 pitch to lift the Bulldogs to an 8-7 win. The Sequoia High grad’s heroics forced an immediate Game No. 3, which revitalized CSM took 11-2 to advance to the Super Regionals.
“I’d struck out three times the day before so I was really nervous and emotional,” said Rincon. “Before I took the plate I was just thinking, ‘You can’t let her strike you out.’”
The No. 9 hitter’s two-out moon shot to left-center nicked the scoreboard on its way out of the park. “I was so happy; I still am,” added Rincon. “It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”
In the clincher, pitcher Callie Pacheco, a Half Moon Bay alum, allowed two hits in five innings as her team dismantled frazzled Shasta with homers from Alyssa Jepsen (Notre Dame-Belmont) and Trish Malaspina (Burlingame).
Now the Bulldogs (28-12) have their eyes set on their next opponent—undefeated San Joaquin Delta (39-0). CSM suffered a close 2-1 loss to Delta in February, which resulted in a season-changing momentum swing, as the Bulldogs then went on a 12-game winning streak.
CSM is in the A bracket amongst top-seeded Delta, No. 4 Sierra College and No. 5 Sacramento City College. The Bulldogs are set to play on Friday in the double-elimination tournament.
Serra alums power CSM baseball to Super Regionals
The CSM baseball team is off to the Super Regionals thanks largely to the play of two Serra grads—Daniel Chavez and Justin Maffei—in the team’s opening-round sweep of Sequoias.
Chavez allowed three hits in 8 1/3 innings as the Bulldogs (27-10) prevailed 2-1 in on Saturday, and Justin Maffei went a combined 4-for-8 in the two games.
Josh Fredendall, a Hillsdale alum who recorded the save in both games, tipped his cap to Chavez.
“Daniel threw lights out and did a great job keeping us in the game,” said Fredendall. “He's done a great job all year and we knew as a team that we had a good chance to win with him on the mound.”
Now CSM faces Ohlone in a double-elimination four-team round in hopes of punching a ticket to the state finals for the second consecutive year.
“We are very excited to be moving on,” said Maffei. “Ultimately, our goal is to make it back to the final four. Sending Ohlone home would just be the icing on the cake.”
Early exit for Cañada baseball once again
The Colts suffered a first-round sweep for the second straight year, losing 10-8 and 16-7 to host No. 3 seed Solano on Friday and Saturday.
In a weekend of bracket-buster upsets—No. 17 Sac City over No. 1 Feather River, No. 12 Sierra over No. 5 Chabot and No. 15 Cosumnes River over No. 2 Diablo Valley—Cañada couldn’t join the party.
The Colts, who look to reload once again, struggled to contain Solano offense that hit a combined .395 in the two games.
Cañada leadoff hitter Allen Stiles went 3-for-10 on the weekend.
CSM track and field siblings make noise at regional level
Bulldog siblings Nikki and Josh Uikilifi qualified for the Northern California finals in several field events, including women’s discus, men’s and women’s javelin and men’s and women’s shot put.
The duo leads a strong core of CSM freshmen which hopes to qualify for the state finals on May 20 at American River College.
The Uikilifis will be joined by Sequoia grad Zeke Edwards and Charles Olaires (men’s javelin), Chloe Hop (pole vault), Sione Fanaika (men’s shot put) and Sequoia alum Ana Kilikiti (women’s shot put) in the NorCals at Shasta on Saturday.