Following a dry spell of at least 25 years, a Santa Rosa JC softball team has qualified for the California Community College Athletic Association Super Regionals.
On Sunday, the No. 7 seeded Bear Cubs stamped their ticket by defeating No. 10 San Jose City College, 5-1, to take the best-of-three series in straight games. SRJC rallied to win Saturday's opener, 5-4.
The Northern California Super Regionals begin Friday in Fairfield at Solano Community College. The survivor advances to the state finals May 15-17 in Bakersfield.
"We can't find anyone who can remember the last time a Santa Rosa team made it to the Super Regionals," coach Phil Wright said. "I talked to some people that have been around the program a long time and as near as we can figure out, it's been more than 25 years."
Even though Sunday's game was played at Marv Mays Field, San Jose won the coin toss and was the home team .
Thanks to a home run by Chauntel Cesna, the Bear Cubs started quickly with two runs in the first.
Cesna, a sophomore from Fairfield, belted another homer in the third to highlight a three-run inning.
That was more than enough run support for pitcher Dana Thomsen. The Petaluma High alum allowed a run in the first and nothing more.
She struck out four, allowed five hits and finished the game when her coach decided to follow a hunch.
"I could see she was getting tired in the sixth and my first instinct was to bring in a relief pitcher," Wright said. "Then, I just got a feeling that Dana could finish the job if I stuck with her "
Santa Rosa reached San Jose pitching for 10 hits.
While Cesna's home runs keyed the offense, Megan Winters (Analy) and Courtnie Morton (Rancho Cotate) made big contributions.
Winters was 3 for 3 with a double while Morton wound up going 2 for 3 with an RBI.
Finishing with one hit apiece were: Samantha Bartee (Maria Carrillo), Alexandra Coirds (Petaluma) and Rebecca Steiner (Windsor).
Sunday's win was the 30th of the season for the Bear Cubs. They've lost 11 times.
"Getting to 30 wins and advancing to the Super Regionals is a great feeling," Wright said.
"When I was hired three years ago, my goal was to turn around the program by my third year.
"I'm pretty happy about things right now."