By Jeremy Balan
It’s safe to say Lowell High School saved its best softball for its most important games of the season.
The Cardinals were dominant again on Monday against Skyline High School, clinching the Transbay championship with an 11-1 win in Game 2 of the best-of-three series at Lang Field.
In less than a week, the Cardinals (18-3) won the Academic Athletic Association championship game against Washington and two games against Oakland Athletic League champion Skyline (17-7), all of which ended early due to the 10-run mercy rule.
“It’s amazing that all these games ended by [mercy] rule,” said Lowell head coach Sascha Taylor-Ray. “We just came out to play and this was icing on the cake.”
The final score was lopsided, but Skyline actually took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a pair of Lowell errors.
“We had that initial enthusiasm [after the first run],” said Skyline head coach Paul Keener. “They answered the call, though, and that’s the sign of a good team.”
The lead didn’t last long, as standout senior first baseman Chloe Roddy singled in Kristina Saito in the bottom half of the inning to knot up the score.
Roddy, who had eight RBIs in the two games last week, went 2-for-4 on Monday.
“She just works and is our little powerhouse,” Taylor-Ray said of Roddy. “Even if she’s not getting those giant hits, she’s still contributing something. It wasn’t over the fence, but it was one base at a time, and that’s all we ask for.”
The Cardinals took over the lead for good in the second, fully taking advantage of multiple Skyline errors, then broke the game open in the fifth.
With no outs, Lowell loaded the bases on three consecutive singles to right field by Madison Donahue-Wolfe, Katie Tam and Angela Trinh.
Abigail Young singled in a two runs in the next at-bat, Gretel Gunther scored another with a sacrifice fly, and two more RBI singles from Michelle Willis and Samantha Yee ran the lead to 11-1, and ended the game early.
“One through nine, everyone has something to offer,” Taylor-Ray said. “There was never that panic button this year. I knew someone was going to get a hit, someone is going to get on base and someone is going to score.”
The lopsided losses did not discourage Keener and the Titans, who have gone undefeated in OAL play in the past three seasons and have a roster that features six freshmen.
“Last year, our entire infield graduated, so to get back to this point, I think we’ve done really good,” Keener said.
S – Olivia Ports reaches on an error, Jalina Bluford scores
L – Chloe Roddy singles, Kristina Saito scores
L – Gretel Gunther reaches on an error, Katie Tam scores
L – Abigail Young scores on an error
L – Michelle Willis reaches on an error, Gunther scores
L – Saito grounds out, Young scores
L – Gunther scores on a wild pitch
L – Young singles, Madison Donahue-Wolfe and Tam score
L – Gunther sacrifice fly, Angela Trinh scores
L – Willis singles, Young scores
L – Samantha Yee singles, Saito scores
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