Article, 2011 Season - Ohlone College Renegades Women's Softball

Renegades move on in softball playoffs

By Biff Jones.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011—Reprinted from Tri-City Voice.

Renegades Jessica Varady pitches.Jessica Varady was stellar in her two outings over the weekend, leading the Lady Renegades to a series sweep of Reedley. —Photo by Mike Heightchew.

Ohlone Renegades hosted a first round match in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Nor Cal regional last weekend May 7-8. Renegades, under the tutelage of head coach Donna Runyon, entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed in the 16-team regional. In the opening round, Ohlone hosted the No. 14 seeded Reedley College in a best of three series.

Game one on Saturday saw Ohlone ace Jessica Varady face off against Reedley's best Stephanie Holiday. Both players were named pitchers of the year for their respective conferences. In the first inning, Reedley all-state centerfielder and conference player of the year Brooke Nasalroad led off against Ohlone and promptly tripled to right center. After a Varady strikeout, Reedley got Nasalroad home for the first run of the game on a sacrifice bunt.

Renegades answered in their have of the first when right fielder and leadoff hitter Brittany Hillman sent a drive to left which the Reedley fielder could not handle and it fell for a two-base error. After Varady sacrificed Hillman to third, shortstop Kaley Marden (back from two spike wounds to the face 11 days ago) doubled to chase home the tying run.

Ohlone threatened in the third on singles by left fielder Ashley Vignola and Hillman with one out, but could not get the clutch hit. In the fourth, Renegade first baseman Lauren Ermitano put the hosts in front, 2-1, with a solo home run over the left-field fence.

Again in the fifth, Ohlone got singles by second baseman Sara Ragusa and Hillman with one out and again they were left stranded. Finally in the sixth, after Ermitano reached on an error and a walk to center fielder Candice Christiansen followed by a double steal of third and second, Ragusa delivered the clutch hit, a two-run single for a 4-1 lead after six.

Meanwhile, Varady was inducing ground ball after ground ball and only allowed two base runners after the leadoff triple: a walk in the third and base runner in the seventh off a Renegade error. That runner was then wiped out in a game-ending double play for a 4-1 game one victory.

Sunday's game two saw the same starting pitchers for both teams, Varady and Holiday. Both pitchers would walk the leadoff hitters to start the game but neither team could score in the first inning. Reedley would strike first in the third with two outs as Nasalroad hit a ball to shallow center. When the Ohlone fielder tried for a shoe string catch, it rolled to the fence for an inside-the-park homerun and a 1-0 Reedley lead.

Renegades softball player connects bat to ball.Ohlone won a tight one to open its series and followed it by pounding Reedley, 8-1, to advance in the CCCAA softball playoffs. —Photo by Don Jedlovec.

In the bottom third, Ohlone burst into the lead with three runs. First, Vignola and Hillman drew back-to-back walks with one out. Then, Varady worked the count to 3-0 and started to first with what she thought was ball four only to her the strike call. On the next pitch she was glad ball four was strike one as she deposited the 3-1 pitch over the right field fence for a three-run homer and a 3-1 Ohlone lead.

Renegades added single runs in the fourth on singles by Christiansen and Ragusa and in the fifth on doubles by Marden and third baseman Stefanie Hatley, her first hit in three games after being named Coast Conference North most valuable player.

In the bottom of the sixth, up 5-1, Ohlone pinch hitter Megan Tyler slapped a single to center to lead off. Ragusa sacrificed her to second. This was followed by a double from Vignola, a single from Hillman, walks to Varady and Hatley around an infield fly out and a series-clinching single from Ermitano to make the score 9-1 in the sixth and end the game on the eight-run mercy rule.

Ohlone is now 31-7-1 for the year while Varady improved to 26-5. Next up is round two of the CCCAA state softball tournament, the super regional. Eight remaining teams from last weekend's first round will play in two, double-elimination, four-team tournaments from Friday to Sunday, May 13-15, at the site of the two highest remaining seeds.

No.3 Renegades will travel to the College of the Siskiyous in Weed for a 4 p.m. Friday first game against No.6 Cosumnes River of Sacramento. No.2 Siskiyous will host the early 2 p.m. game on Friday and play either, Solano, Feather River or San Mateo College (schedule unavailable at press).

After day one, the two losers from the first day will play at noon on Saturday; two winners from day one meet at 2 p.m.; and Saturday's noon winner vs. 2 p.m. loser will round out the action on Saturday at 4 p.m. Concluding the super regional on Sunday, the two remaining teams with less than two losses will meet at noon; should both teams still be under two losses after the result of the first game on Sunday, they will play in a winner-take-all game at 2 p.m. that same day with the winner moving on to the four-team double elimination state final May 20-22 at Bakersfield College. For updated schedules and results go to website

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