The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
For all the history made by the Lady Bulldogs this season, the final chapter was not the conclusion they had hoped to write.
Palomar College was the last team standing in the California Community College Athletic Association State Softball Championships, as the Comets won their fifth all-time state title. College of San Mateo took Palomar to the limit, advancing through the losers’ bracket to reach championship Sunday.
Needing to defeat the Comets twice in the championship round, the Bulldogs won Sunday’s opener 2-1 to force a winner-take-all finale. But Palomar rode the right arm of freshman Summer Evans to a 5-1 victory in the nightcap to capture the title.
CSM faced Palomar three times in the double-elimination tourney and it was Evans who pitched all three. The right-hander held CSM’s state-leading offense in check, holding the Bulldogs to just four runs (two earned) through 20 innings.
In Sunday’s first game, Evans held CSM scoreless through five innings. But the Bulldogs rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 2-1 lead. Lelani Akai produced the big swing of the bat with a two-run single to give her starting pitcher Lauren Berriatua all the lead she’d need.
Berriatua yielded just one unearned run on one hit in recording her 29th victory of the season. And the sophomore right-hander opened the second game just as tough. After the two teams traded first-inning runs, each via wild pitches, Berriatua set down 11 straight Comets batters.
In the fifth, however, Palomar sophomore Stephanie Koishor opened the frame with a single to open the door for a two-run rally. Palomar added single runs in the sixth and seventh.
After entering the tourney with an undefeated 40-0 record, the Bulldogs finishes the season at 43-2. They twice downed Cypress, first in Friday’s opener 4-3, and again in Saturday’s elimination game 4-2. The two wins are CSM’s first ever in the state-championship tournament.