You know that old saying, "Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good"?
Well, sometimes it's best to be both.
With a pair of wins over West High last week, and a pair of losses by rival Ridgeview at the hands of Independence, Warriors softball clinched an unlikely, but well-deserved three-way tie for the South Yosemite League championship. All three teams finished with identical 11-4 league records. This marks the second consecutive season the Warriors have shared the league title.
On Wednesday, May 9, the Warriors hosted West at home on Senior Day, honoring graduating standouts Anabelle Carroll and Erin Askins. The Vikings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead after the top of the first, but the Warriors stormed back with eight runs in the home half of the inning, highlighted by a bases clearing triple from Ashley McIrvin, and never looked back from there, on the way to an 18-3 victory in five innings.
Offensive standouts in the 16-hit attack included McIrvin (3-4, 3 RBI), Kristen Burgeis (2-3, with a home run and 4 RBI), Sierra Brown (2-2, 2 RBI), Meghan Daffern (2-4, 2 RBI), and Carroll (2-3). Maleena Davis and Deanna Hammer also added hits on the day. Askins extended her home run hitting streak with another dinger in the third inning, giving her an amazing 8 long balls in the last six games. She leads the entire Central Section with 13 home runs on the season, as do the Warriors as a team, with 27. Daffern also pitched an excellent complete game in the circle, allowing three runs off of just two hits over five innings.
On Friday, the Warriors headed down to West for their last regular season game of the year. This was West's Senior Day, and they responded with a scrappy effort, again scoring a run in the first to knot the game at 1-1. The Warriors kept plugging away however, scoring single runs in the second and third innings to take a narrow 3-1 lead. The decisive inning turned out to be the fifth, when the Warriors plated four more runs, capped by Ashley McIrvin's 7th home run of the season, a towering shot into a stiff headwind in left-center field. Another strong outing from Daffern in the circle, allowing only one run on four hits, while striking out seven, secured the 8-1 victory. Askins, Hammer and Hailey VanWey all contributed additional hits.
Even with the league co-championship, the Lady Warriors will have little time to rest, as CIF Central Section playoffs begin this week. The Warriors have drawn a fourth seed in the Division III bracket, but will at least enjoy a well-deserved first round bye. Their first playoff game will be at home, on Friday, May 18, against fifth-seeded Reedley. Game time is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Reedley and Tehachapi each sport identical 20-7 overall records, so this promises to be a great match-up. Come on out and support Warrior softball as they continue their amazing season!
Paul Askins is a team parent.