The Bakersfield College softball team has erased immense leads throughout its up-and-down month of April. It just hasn't always won after doing so.
In a game that now looms large in the conference standings, the Renegades trailed 8-0 at Antelope Valley on April 4 but clawed their way back into a 10-10 tie in the seventh, only to give up a walk-off home run. On the other hand, just two days later they took advantage of seven LA Mission errors, as the Eagles saw a 6-0 lead evaporate and allowed BC to win 8-7.
The Renegades fell behind 6-0 again Friday afternoon in a non-conference tilt with Sequoias and came back once again, but this game ended up more AVC than Mission.
The usually steady BC defense continued a concerning trend from Thursday's Canyons doubleheader, as a seventh-inning throwing error in the infield aided the Giants in claiming an 8-7 win of their own.
“We’ve just got to find ways to win," BC coach Casey Goodman said, "and we’ve got to make sure we don’t make mental mistakes at this point in the season."
The Renegades seized their chance at redemption in the second half of Friday's doubleheader, using Anika Romo's fourth-inning home run to take the lead, and Ryleigh Harrison redeemed herself for a shaky start earlier in the day with some steady relief pitching in the 8-5 victory.
"We cleaned it up and came back the second game and took care of business and hopefully that gives us momentum to move on to next week," Goodman said.
The Renegades were supposed to honor their sophomores Saturday against LA Valley, but the Monarchs had to forfeit, leading to an impromptu celebration of Romo, Destiny Cuellar, Rylee Price, Kady Smith and Shelbie Valencia.
“They’re always going to be a part of our history," Goodman said, "and two of them were all-Americans, and they’ll be in the BC record books for years to come.”
BC (24-13, 13-3 Western State Conference) will head back on the road to Glendale Tuesday. If Canyons beats Antelope Valley that same day, BC could have a chance to beat the Cougars Thursday for a conference title.
COS 8, BC 7
The Renegade infield couldn't connect on a possible game-ending double-play, an errant toss drifted into right field, and Shalom Sanchez came around to tie the game at 7-7 as Nataly Espinoza made it all the way to third base.
Bailee Bustos scored Sanchez with a sacrifice fly to center field, and the Renegades squandered a pair of ninth-inning baserunners in the bottom of the seventh as Sequoias took the win.
After the Giants blew a six-run lead, BC claimed its first advantage of the day at 7-6 on Rylee Price's home run to center field in the fourth inning, but was never able to expand the margin, despite putting runners on the corners with one out in the following frame.
Even before the backbreaking error, the Renegades dug themselves a hole with poor defense. Sequoias vexed the BC defense with a string of bunts, but put just one run across in the first inning on a bunt single, an error and a pair of walks before Bustos lined out into a double play.
The Giants came back with a vengeance in the second, however. Sarai Ozuna slapped a single into right field, then advanced to third on a Jazmin Torres single and throwing error when no one covered first base. On Janette Ochoa's ensuing bunt, Harrison couldn't make a throw home in time to prevent Ozuna from scoring, then Madisen Shimmon knocked in two more runs with a double to left field.
Emily Ibarra, Sanchez and Espinoza recorded one more hit each for two additional runs to make it 6-0, but Sanchez was tagged out advancing to third on Espinoza's single and then Espinoza got caught stealing to end the threat.
BC struck back just moments after Sequoias' onslaught when a bad throw to third on an Alyna Ruiz bunt allowed Romo to score. Espinoza, the pitcher, induced two more outs, but got pulled after Valencia loaded the bases with a two-out single that bounced off third baseman Bustos. In relief, Katie Simas and Bustos were much less effective in presiding over the rest of the inning, as Destiny Cuellar and Kady Smith drew RBI walks.
Price drove a hit to deep right-center field on a full count, scoring a pair of runs, but got tagged out at second moments before Smith would have tied the game.
BC got its sixth run in the following inning on another bases-loaded walk issued by Bustos to Valencia, then took the lead on the Price homer, but after Espinoza reentered the circle, the Renegades couldn't get much else going.
BC 8, COS 5
After Smith got into trouble in just her second start of the month, Harrison came into a two-run game game with two on and no one out in the fifth inning, then ended the threat thanks in part to a 5-3 double play. She pitched two additional shutout innings to protect the lead as Smith added a sacrifice fly, and the Renegades won 8-5.
BC looked to pull away early when Cuellar's RBI single and Stephanie Kay's two-run line drive up the middle gave the Renegades an early 3-0 lead, but this time the Giants stormed back with five runs in the third inning. They got six hits off Smith, highlighted by Shimmon's go-ahead bases-clearing full-count double.
Much like in the first game, the Renegades responded immediately. This time it was a two-out rally against Bustos featuring a Roxane Garza bases-loaded walk to set up Valencia, who singled to left and scored the tying run, but Kay slammed into catcher Mandy Pimentel and was tagged out, drawing an unsuccessful appeal for interference from Goodman.
BC ended up getting its go-ahead play from another two-out sequence one inning later, as Price (who went 3-for-4) doubled to the wall in center to set up Romo's blast off Simas.
After two straightforward innings for Harrison, Sequoias put on two runners in the bottom of the ninth with Shimmon at the plate, but she flew out to end the game.