Aaron Tolentino | Sports editor | March 27, 2018
After a long pitching duel that went extra innings into the bottom of the ninth, the Diablo Valley College Vikings softball team got the 2-1 walk-off victory over Santa Rosa Junior College on a passed ball Tuesday afternoon in Pleasant Hill.
Right fielder Kathryn Cassin scored the walk-off run from third base when Santa Rosa catcher Emma Guilfoil dropped a pitch and lost track of the ball, allowing Cassin enough time to make it home safely.
"You know it's not way past," said Cassin. "You pretty much hear (the ball) on the ground, you look at it, you look at her being all frantic, then you go."
While the official box score scored the final play a wild pitch, Guilfoil simply mishandled the pitch. Thus, it should have been scored as a passed ball.
Vikings head coach Dennis Luquet said that Santa Rosa head coach Phil Wright was trying to get his pitcher to walk the final DVC batter. Luquet thought that Wright should have commanded an intentional walk, but a mishandled outside pitch worked out in DVC's favor.
DVC pitcher Sita Manoa once again carried her team.
After giving up an unearned run in the first, Manoa pitched a complete game and an extra two innings to shut Santa Rosa out from that point on, even with a pitch count that totaled up to 157.
"Sita, she just competes, doesn't matter if she goes three balls on somebody, she comes back," said Luquet. "She doesn't walk many people, so she keeps competing and probably the more pitches she throws, the better she gets as the game goes on."
A lot of pressure can be put on a pitcher when the game was as tight as it was and the offense not scoring many runs.
Manoa did not feel that pressure to preserve the tie through the rest of the game and into extra innings.
"When you have a team like this, it's not a lot of pressure put on you," she said. "Especially when you have a catcher working as hard as you behind the plate; her energy just brings you up."
Vikings catcher Elvia Alvarado also stole numerous strikes for Manoa by framing pitches on the outside corner and got the home-plate umpire to call key strikes.
With the performance, Manoa moves up to sixth in wins and third in innings pitched among all California community college pitchers.
Manoa is expected to take the mound once again for a doubleheader the next day when the Vikings face Cosumnes River with scheduled first pitches at noon and 2 p.m. on Wednesday in Pleasant Hill.
*Photo by Aaron Tolentino
Please click HERE for more articles from The Inquirer.