The Tehachapi Warriors softball season finally came to an end Tuesday, May 7, in a CIF playoff game against 5th-seeded Mission Oak, in Tulare.
The Hawks would score quickly, reaching on an error, and then hitting a run-scoring double to give them an early 1-0 lead. Tehachapi came right back in the top of the second, thanks to singles from seniors Meghan Daffern and Deanna Hammer, and an RBI fielder's choice by junior Sierra Brown, to knot the game at 1-1.
The Warriors would take the lead in the top of the third, on a single by senior Kristen Burgeis, a sacrifice bunt by sophomore Emma Barrett, and another single from Daffern, scoring Burgeis and giving the Warriors a 2-1 lead. The lead would be short-lived, however, as Mission Oak would manage to push across 2 runs in the home half of the inning, from a walk and a pair of Warrior errors. The Hawks would add an additional run in the bottom of the 4th, on a walk, an error, and a passed ball scoring the run from third.
Tehachapi wasn't done yet though. A lead-off double to the fence from Brown, followed later by another Burgeis single to score Brown, cut the lead to 4-3. A strong finish from senior pitcher Bailey Damian blanked the Hawks for the final two innings, but the Warriors could not manage to plate any additional runs, leading to the 4-3 loss.
Damian was outstanding on the day in the circle, allowing only two hits and no earned runs in six innings of work, while striking out three. Burgeis led the Warriors on offense, going 2 for 3 with an RBI, while Daffern and Brown each added a hit and an RBI as well. Hammer and senior Kennedy Caudle supplied the remaining Warrior hits.
With the loss, the Warriors finish the season at the .500 mark, with an 11-11 overall record. League rivals Independence and Ridgeview have fared no better in the CIF playoffs, with both falling in first- or second-round games.
Division II 3rd-seed Independence was upset by #6 San Luis Obispo, while #7 Ridgeview was eliminated by #2 Hanford. The only remaining South Yosemite League team in the playoffs is D6 #3 Bakersfield Christian, which reached the semi-finals with wins over Trona and Mission Prep.
The Warriors will be in something of a rebuilding year next season, with five starters graduating, but a solid cadre of experienced underclass players, including Sierra Brown, Maleena Davis, Emma Barrett, Kaylee Peel, Hailey VanWey and Kyndall Perkins, bolstered by fresh faces from this year's talented JV and frosh squads, give plenty of reason to expect another exciting season next spring.