The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.

The College of San Mateo softball team went 2-2 and was eliminated from the California Community College Athletic Association state softball tournament at Mt. San Antonio College over the weekend.

The Bulldogs (39-9), who won the 2022 state title, opened defense of their championship with a 3-0 win over Cypress in Thursday’s tourney opener. Lia Evans spun a two-hitter, complete game, with Lelia Velasquez and Vanessa Lang each driving in a run.

But CSM came up short in Game 2 Friday morning, dropping a 2-1 decision to Palomar, the top-ranked team in the state, as the Comets walked off with the win with a two-run, bottom of the seventh rally, scoring both runs on an infield grounder, with the runner from third scoring on an RBI fielder’s choice, and the winning run cross on an error on a throw that sailed wide of first. Coming back in the afternoon for an elimination game, the Bulldogs stayed alive with a nine-inning, 6-5 win over Sierra, the highest ranked team from Northern California. CSM pulled out the win when Mariah Norris put down a bunt and Lang scored on a suicide squeeze play.

The Bulldogs faced another elimination game Saturday, but came up well short in a rematch with Cypress, which beat CSM 12-4 to end the season.

The star of the game was pitcher Emily Rush who finished with two home runs, five RBIs, and two runs scored offensively, while picking up a complete game win in the circle with four strikeouts to improve her record to 32-5.

The Chargers totaled nine runs in the second and third innings and never looked back, as they exploded for 13 hits in the game.

Freshman designated player Jaiden Stern started the scoring onslaught in the second inning when she hit a sacrifice fly that sent freshman right fielder Mikala Jacobsen home for the first run for Cypress. Jacobsen finished two for two with a triple and three runs scored in the game.

Rush highlighted the four-run second inning for the Chargers with a three-run blast over the left-field fence.

The Chargers extended the lead to 9-3 with five runs in the third inning with Jacobsen again adding the spark when she hit a triple to right, scoring Camryn Addimando for the first run of the inning. Cameron Curiel followed two batters later with an RBI single to bring in Jacobsen.

Rush drew a bases-loaded walk to score Curiel and Jaylene Durate capped off the inning with a two-run single through the left side.

Cypress scored two more runs in the fifth when Rush hit her second home run of the game, this time a solo shot to left. Camryn Addimando added another run on an RBI single. Pinch hitter Vanessa Correa ended the game on RBI single to left to give the Chargers the run-rule win.

San Mateo took the first lead of the game after Luda Gumataotao and Gabrielle Perez reached base on back-to-back singles. Hailey Meisenbach followed with an RBI double and freshman third baseman Isabella Crowne added a two-run single to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead. Perez and Crowne each finished with two hits.

San Mateo added its only other run in the fourth inning on an infield ground-out RBI by Mariah Norris that scored sophomore shortstop Leila Velasquez.

Palomar — leveraging Friday’s dramatic walk-off over CSM into a 3-0 run through the winners’ bracket — captured the CCCAA championship Sunday with a 2-1 win over Cypress. It is Palomar’s sixth all-time state title, with their last one coming in 2015.