Article, 2007 Season - Women's Softball

Next for Ohlone in playoffs: S.J. City

From Steve R. Waterhouse, Staff writer.

Friday, May 11, 2007—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

For the first time in state history, the junior college softball format has changed from a tournament style to a best-of-3 series.

In the past, the Regionals in Northern California seeded the top 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs. The top four seeds hosted a four-team, double-elimination bracket style of play.

This year, everything in the Regionals is a best-of-3 series with the better seed hosting.

Is that good or bad?

"We still need to see how it plays out," Ohlone coach Donna Runyon said.

One thing's for sure, with this format, the No.6-seeded Renegades got to host a first-round series. In the past, with the No.6 seed, the Renegades would have had to hit the road.

"It's a nice thing to be able to play at home," Runyon said.

They went on to sweep College of the Sequoias over the weekend 1-0 and 3-2, respectively.

Thus, the Renegades advance to the Super Regionals where they will travel to No.4 San Jose City in a best-of-3 series beginning Saturday at 2 p.m.

The series continues Sunday at noon and if necessary, a third game will be played, scheduled at 2 p.m., to determine which team advances to the State Final Eight in Chino Hills next weekend.

"It's good for the freshmen to experience this," Ohlone pitcher Isabel Ramos said. "For us sophomores, we've been to the playoffs, and we're ready to go. We've been working a lot since fall ball."

Ohlone is no stranger to the postseason. Under Runyon's tutelage (18 years), the Renegades have won five straight Coast Conference titles—eight overall. The Renegades have won 30 or more games in six straight seasons, including a 36-9 mark this year.

Their best finish came in both 1991 and 1992 when they finished fifth in the state tournament both years.

Ramos is a big reason for Ohlone's success this season. The American High graduate pitched back-to-back complete games over Sequoias and is 20-4 on the season with a 1.61 ERA.

And if you're looking for a backup pitcher on this team, look no further than Tiffany Chan, who went 4-4 but had a stout 1.88 ERA.

Chan is more of a utility player, but Ramos has turned in some stellar outings throughout the year.

"A lot of credit has to go to my pitching coach, Dave Villegas," Runyon said. "I wouldn't be able to do everything without him. He works with the pitchers so well."

And it's not all about pitching. The Renegades are clutch when it comes to hitting. Of course, Ramos is right there in the mix.

Earlier this year, in an 8-7 win over Fresno City, Ramos delivered a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning for a win.

On Saturday, her RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh gave Ohlone the win and set the tone for the rest of the series.

"We're used to coming through," Chan said. "We have a lot of confidence. We just have to keep the energy level high."

Leadoff hitter Valerie Briones is about as tough as they come. The Hawaii-Hilo-bound center fielder is hitting at a .382 clip with an on-base percentage of .461.

The team's leading hitter is Kristina Gonsalez (James Logan), who has a .429 average. Second on the team is Cassandra Ortega with a .417 average. Chan is third with a .397 average. As a team, Ohlone has a .343 batting average that is coupled with a team ERA of 1.71.

"This is a very athletic team," Runyon said.

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