Wild Card game goes awry in early innings as Falcons lose, look toward next season.
By Brandon HENSLEY
A successful, yet trying season ended for the CV High softball team Tuesday afternoon at CV. The Falcons stumbled out of the gate early and couldn’t fully recover in their CIF Division III wild card playoff game against the Notre Dame Knights, losing 9-4.
The Falcons finished second in the Pacific League this season behind Burroughs with an 11-3 record. They were 20-7 overall coming into the game. With the win, Notre Dame (12-11-1) moves on to play La Serna in the first round today.
CV starting pitcher Olivia Thayer threw all seven innings, but the first one presented problems. Notre Dame scored four runs in that frame, which included two CV errors. The highlight for the Knights featured Olivia Lucchese doubling in two runs.
CV responded in the second when infielder Brady Sanford doubled with the bases loaded, scoring all three runs. But the game was put away in the seventh when the Knights’ Melanie Allegretti smashed a two-run homer to right field, making it 9-3.
The game’s biggest disparity was in how each team’s top of the order fared. Notre Dame’s first three hitters – Jennifer McNeill, Bernadette Ochoa and Lucchese – went a combined six for nine with three RBIs. CV’s first three – Hailey Cookson, Allie Lacey and Hannah Cookson – went a combined 1-11 with one RBI.
“It’s not like we didn’t have chances. Whitney [Craig] and Brady Sanford kept putting the ball play and gave us opportunities,” said Coach Mark Samford. “Their right fielder made a couple of plays. They got a couple of strikeouts, you know, we just can’t build momentum. We gotta give them credit.”
CV has been a perennial powerhouse in Southland softball thanks to their late coach Dan Berry, who led the team for over two decades. But his passing last fall, coupled with roster inexperience – there are only three seniors on the team, Lacey, Claire Ortiz and Amber Alsamman – led to an expected downturn.
But the Falcons played strong all year, and Samford said the future is bright.
“I think a lot of the players you’ve seen all year making contributions or making errors are young players that are only going to get better,” he said.
Samford told the school he would coach the team for one season. What if the school wants him back?
“I would think about it again, but clearly I would think about it in different terms coming in with a little more lead time to think about how I want to organize the program. I think the program is kind of a self-sustaining thing thanks to Dan Berry.”