The article below originally appeared on MercuryNews.com and is being reprinted with permission.
For the softball team at College of San Mateo, there is simply one goal: state championships or bust.
“Once you’ve been there, it’s really hard to not go back,” CSM coach Nicole Borg said. “Last year’s sophomore class was the first to go both years in my program, so that was pretty cool. The shock was over and it wasn’t like, ‘Oh my God, we made it here.’ That was the expectation.
The Bulldogs (11-0), ranked No. 2 in the state, made their intentions clear Sunday with a sweep of last year’s state finalists. First came a 2-0 victory over No. 3 Mt. Sac, the 2014 runner-up, followed by an 11-3 dismantling of No. 1-ranked Sierra, the defending champion, in a five-inning mercy-rule contest.
A recent addition to the roster pushed the total number to 13 — six sophomores and seven freshmen.
“They’re a great group, a small group, but one which has the intention on having a very successful season,” Borg said.
Sophomore ace Lauren Berriatua (6-0, 0.22 ERA) has struck out 39 over 32 innings of work. As a freshman, she went 10-1 with a 2.80 ERA, striking out 39 over 70 innings.
“It made her mad that she didn’t get the ball as much,” Borg said. “I think that drove her over the summer and she has this internal drive that now she wants to be the one in big games to get it done.”
The top slugging team in the state, CSM is getting production from everywhere in the lineup. Catcher Lelani Akai has four home runs, while fellow sophomores Melina Rodriguez and Kayleen Smith each have three homers. Leading the way, though, is a freshman in Harlee Donovan with six bombs, which ties her for No. 1 in the state.