The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.
Just moments away from advancing through the winner’s bracket to Sunday’s championship game, it all fell apart for the Lady Bulldogs.
The College of San Mateo softball team led by two runs going into the seventh inning of Saturday’s semifinal matchup against Sacramento City College. After two harmless outs to start the inning, Sac City rallied for an improbable comeback. What ensued was a 7-6 loss for the Bulldogs in a marathon 10-inning game, forcing them to play an elimination game through the loser’s bracket later in the evening.
Saturday’s nightcap ran past midnight, and CSM could muster little offense in a 6-1 loss to Santiago Canyon College. Santiago Canyon went on to defeat Sac City twice Sunday to capture the program’s first-ever state championship.
The first-ever championship was a fate CSM hoped to meet. But after the gut punch in the seventh inning of Saturday’s opener, the Bulldogs couldn’t recover.
Sac City actually tallied three runs in the comeback to take a 6-5 lead. But CSM freshman Jordan Davis countered by leading off the bottom of the seventh with a thundering opposite-field home run to right-center to tie it up. Playing into the 10th though — CSM’s longest game of the season — Sac City’s Katie Lopez produced a sacrifice fly to take the lead. The Bulldogs went in order in the bottom of the inning to end it.
Despite the elimination loss in the nightcap, CSM catcher Harlee Donovan put on a spectacular show behind the dish. In the final inning of her illustrious community college career, she made a daring play by corralling a throw from right fielder Riley Wells to nail Jessica Daniel at the plate in a spectacle of a collision that hardly seemed to phase Donovan; her instinct was to regain her feet and check the back runners.
Donovan had a tough go at the plate though, going 2 for 11 through three games. Freshman Sam Dean was CSM’s top hitter in the tourney going 5 for 12.
Donovan still chiseled one of the greatest careers in Bulldogs history. The Northern California Player of the Year finished the season tied for second in the state with 17 home runs and hit a program-record 37 career homers.
The Bulldogs finished the year with the best overall wins total in the state with a 42-5 record.