The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
The Sammie and Mo show has been quite a hit for College of San Mateo softball this season.
The Lady Bulldogs’ starting-pitching tandem of Samantha Dean and Morgan Jones closed out the regular season with back-to-back gems to help CSM (11-1 in Coast Conference, 36-3 overall) head into the playoffs with the best overall record in the state at 36-3.
Jones whirled a two-hit Monday in CSM’s 10-0 mercy-rule win at Cabrillo. And Dean backed it up by tabbing the victory in the Bulldogs’ 59th straight home win Tuesday with a one-hit shutout in a 6-0 win over San Jose.
“Mo pitched against Monday against Cabrillo,” CSM head coach Nicole Borg said. “Today was Sammie’s turn.”
Tuesday’s win was vindication after CSM’s previous Coast Conference matchup with San Jose (11-3, 27-11) this season, in which the Falcons handed the Bulldogs a rare loss. San Jose is also the last visiting team to win at Bulldog Stadium, back on April 2, 2014.
“The wheels just came off the last time we played them,” Dean said. “I think we came out this time with a better mindset, better togetherness to play. It was a better effort.”
Dean rose to the occasion, baffling San Jose’s offense with electric no-hit stuff. The only hit she surrendered on the day came in the third inning on a popup behind second base that could have been caught, but a miscommunication caused the ball to drop in between second baseman Christy Peterson and right fielder Riley Wells.
After the Falcons’ lone hit, Dean faced one over the minimum over the next 4 1/3 innings, the freshman right-hander’s lone blemish coming on a sixth-inning walk. The win marks Dean’s 10th of the season.
“I think she’s been in a zone, but today seemed extra special,” CSM catcher Harlee Donovan said. “I think maybe she was playing more for her sophomores maybe because today was sophomore day. Maybe she had a little extra fire for that.”
At the plate, Donovan sparked a four-run rally in the first to give Dean all the runs she would need.
Donovan led off the frame with a bolt double that one-hopped the right-field wall. Meagan Wells then reached on an error to move Donovan to third, and Wells stole second to put two runners in scoring position for Peterson. The left-handed hitting sophomore worked the count full before dropping a two-run single into right field. Then with two outs, Ariana Garcia and Kaitlin Chang connected for back-to-back doubles to give CSM a 4-0 lead.
CSM added two more in the third. After a one-out walk to Dean, Jordan Davis singled to put runners at the corners. The Bulldogs then generated a run via a double steal, with Davis swiping second and Dean streaking for the plate after San Jose had trouble handling the throw through to second base.
The Bulldogs then loaded the bases with Garcia getting hit by a pitch and Chang singling sharply to left. Then an errant pickoff attempt by the San Jose catcher, with the first baseman booting the throw, allowed Davis to score from third to give CSM a 6-0 lead.
The Bulldogs totaled 10 hits and currently rank fourth in the state with a .385 batting average. But it was the team defense that was truly remarkable Tuesday. The left side of the infield of Meagan Wells at shortstop and Kacy Edwards at third base was a perfect 9 for 9 on assist attempts.
“It’s a game we play together,” Dean said of her defense. “I wouldn’t want to play with anyone else.”
Borg has often mixed in relief pitchers this year, even when a starter is showing dominant stuff. The Bulldogs staff has totaled nine complete games on the year, with Jones and Dean tabbing four apiece. Peterson has one.
“This time of year I need to make sure we’re ready to go at the end,” Borg said of Jones’ and Dean’s consecutive CGs. “It’s good to see where you’re at and makes you ready for playoffs.”
The California Community College playoffs are slated to begin May 6. The seeding meeting to determine home-field advantage in the first round will be held Wednesday.
“We feel pretty good right now but we definitely have a lot of work to do,” Dean said. “We’re not where we want to be or where we need to be. We’ll get there though. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us.”