Stellar pitching, solid defense, clutch hitting, capitalizing on the opponent’s mistakes and great team chemistry.
The Dos Pueblos softball team combined all those ingredients to win a CIF championship on Saturday. The Chargers blanked Fontana Kaiser 5-0 to claim the Division 4 title at Deanna Manning Stadium in Irvine.
It’s DP’s first CIF softball title since 2005.
Junior pitcher Hannah Harris hurled her fourth shutout of the playoffs, holding Kaiser to five hits while striking out 10. She was aided by a flawless defensive effort, as the Chargers came up clean on every fielding opportunity.
“We came out and had fun,” said Harris. “That’s what we did during the entire CIF. We didn’t really worry about what inning it was. We played for the moment. We just played loose and that’s what helped us get this far.”
“I’m so happy for my team and so happy to be a Charger.”
“It feels so good to end it like that,” said senior Jordan Roberts. “It’s amazing.”
“We were all really focused,” said senior Amber Altavilla, who scored the first run. “We were in that minsdet to win, We stayed tight and got the best result.”
Said co-coach Donn Roberts: “We just worked hard. Our goals were simple. Once it came together, we thought it was possible I think the girls believed and they deserved it.”
The Chargers hit the ball hard and with finesse, and they took advantage of Kaiser’s mistakes in the field.
The Cats committed five errors in the game.
Channel League champion Dos Pueblos (22-9) capitalized on a wild pitch and an error to score two runs in the third inning and tallied two runs in the fourth with the help of two more errors
Two errors contributed to the Chargers’ final run in the sixth inning.
Kaiser coach John Stevens said the mistakes were a product of his team’s youth.
“We’re young,” he said. “We’ve got only three seniors. I’ve got a freshman third baseman and a freshman shortstop. It is what it is, it’s softball.”
Kasier, the Sunkist League champion, finished at 20-11.
Altavilla got the Chargers going in the third inning with a lead-off single to left. She stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. After sophomore Chloe Madill was hit by a pitch, Harris executed a perfect squeeze bunt to bring home Altavilla. A throwing error by Kaiser pitcher Krystel Gabbard on the play allowed Madill to reach third and Harris to go to second.
Madill scored the second run on a long fly out to left by Roberts.
“I always know after we get a couple hits and people on base it’s OK, the momentum is flowing and we got it,” said Altavilla. “When we got two runs, I knew we had it.”
In the fourth, sophomore Haley Peterson ripped a one-out double into the gap in right-center and Ashlynd Williams laid down a bunt in front of the plate. Gabbard fielded the ball but her throw to first got away and rolled into the corner in right-field foul territory. Peterson scored easily and Williams raced around the bases and scored for a 4-0 lead.
“I saw it but I didn’t know it went that far,” Williams said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a home run.”
The Chargers, with the help of back-to-back infield errors, loaded the bases in the sixth. Alyssa Lewis drew a walk to bring home Marisa Radeke for the final run of the inning.
Harris effectively mixed up her pitches to stymie the Cats’ offense.
“That’s what the kid lives for, she lives for the pressure,” said co-coach Lee Harris of his daughter, who has commited to Fresno State. “She loves this type of atmosphere.”
“I think their pitcher was little quicker than we thought,” Stevens said. “That surprised me. I knew she moved the ball around very well, but I think her speed kind of snuck up on us.”
For Harris and Roberts, winning the title with their daughters is a moment they’ll treasure forever. They’ve been coaching Hannah and Jordan, and many of the other players on the squad, since T-ball.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Roberts, whose daughter is headed to Chico State.
Said Harris: “It’s been special. I’ve coached my kid since T-ball. DP was nice enough to let me come on board. It’s been a family. We’ve been coaching these kids since they were T-ballers and they put it together this year. I couldn’t be happier and I couldn’t be prouder for the kids. What a great way for the seniors to go out. We’ve been playing T-ball, they’ve been to nationals and now they win CIF. It’s great.”