May 06, 2017
The Diablo Valley softball team faced elimination Saturday afternoon and didn't back down.
DVC scored six runs in the final two innings to defeat Hartnell 7-6 in eight innings in a first-round CCCAA Northern regional series. The Vikings advance to the Super Regionals, which start Friday.
"They've got a lot of heart, they don't give up," said Vikings head coach Dennis Luquet about his team.
The comeback occurred in the second game Saturday and the third game of the series. Although both of Saturday's games were at Diablo Valley, the Vikings were designated the visiting team in the second game, and Hartnell won a coin flip for home team-status in the third and deciding game. Hartnell won Saturday's first game 14-4 to force a third game. Diablo Valley beat Hartnell 4-3 in the first game Friday.
In the third game, ninth-seeded Hartnell (27-12) led 3-1 entering the top of the seventh. But Diablo Valley batted around the order to take a 6-3 lead. Terri Taylor trimmed Hartnell's advantage to 3-2 with an RBI single to left field, then two batters later, Elvia Alvarado gave DVC a 4-3 advantage with a two-run triple to deep right field.
Madeline Cervantes followed with a run-scoring single to right field, and an RBI groundout by Katie Kaprive gave eighth seeded Diablo Valley (24-15) a 6-3 advantage.
But Hartnell scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie the score at 6 and send the game into extra innings. The Vikings didn't lose their composure, however.
"We did refocus a lot," said Alvarado, who also made some impressive defensive plays at third base. "We told each other to relax and just have fun, and that's what we did."
In the top of the eighth, Kaitlyn Van Motman was hit by a pitch on her left arm to lead off the inning. Marissa Maddox bunted Van Motman to second and Taylor moved her to third on a sharp single to right field.
Sita Manoa then drove in the eventual winning run with a groundout to shortstop. She said she was thinking "just a hard hit is all I need … That's all I was worried about, the run."
Manoa, who pitched a complete game, still needed to get three outs in the bottom of the inning. The first two Panthers singled, but the final three batters were retired to clinch the victory. For the second out, shortstop Kaprive threw to Alvarado at third for a key forceout.
Taylor was 3 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI, and Maddox added two hits and a run scored for Diablo Valley.
Hartnell forced a deciding third game with a 10-run victory in the first game Saturday. It scored three runs in the third inning and six in the fourth to take command.
The highlight for Diablo Valley in the first game was a two-run home run to deep center field by Taylor in the second. She finished 2 for 3 with two runs scored and two RBI.
Van Motman and Maddox were both 2 for 3 with a run scored. Cervantes and Olivia Soley added RBIs in that game for Diablo Valley.
-- Phil Jensen