NCS playoffs: Cloverdale softball, Cardinal Newman baseball fall in upsets

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For the Cloverdale softball team, Friday night was a new experience.

Unfortunately for the top-seeded Eagles, that experience was their first loss of the season, which knocked them out of the North Coast Section Division 4 playoffs and ended their year.

The host Eagles (23-1) were ambushed 6-1 by eighth-seeded St. Mary’s of Albany (14-10) in a quarterfinal result that few saw coming. Cloverdale earned a first-round bye, which may have given them too much time to rest.

“We had 10 days off. The first-round bye always hurts us. I hate it; it kills your mojo,” Cloverdale coach Margaret Fitzgerald said. “It was a great season but it is frustrating — the girls were not expecting to lose.”

Part of the surprise was the lack of offense from Cloverdale, which scored a lone run on a solo homer in the first inning by Tehya Bird but went silent for the final six innings against St. Mary’s starter Reyna Heredia (win, 7 innings, run, 5 hits).

“We couldn’t catch up with the St. Mary’s pitcher,” Fitzgerald said. “She (Heredia) had a good rise ball. We were chasing up in the zone.”

Cloverdale led 1-0 after two innings, but the Panthers erupted for four runs in the third off Eagles starting pitcher Bird (Loss, 7 innings, 6 runs, 7 hits).

“Bird had a little bit of an off night. The (strike) zone was really tight,” Fitzgerald said. “St. Mary’s hitters were legit. Their one through four hitters could smash the ball.”

St. Mary’s added insurance runs in the fifth and seventh innings to put the Eagles’ playoff hopes and season into the deep freeze.

“St. Mary’s played better than us today,” Fitzgerald said. “They hit the ball a little better than us.”

Sonoma Valley 7, Maria Carrillo 3

In a Division 3 quarterfinal, the third-seeded Dragons (15-11) scored seven runs combined in innings three through five to put the game away and advance to a semifinal next week.

The 11th-seed Pumas (11-11) outhit the Dragons 10-7 but Maria Carrillo trailed 7-0 before scoring one run in the sixth inning and two in the seventh, which was not nearly enough for a late comeback.

In NCS baseball:

Campolindo 11, Cardinal Newman 1

In a Division 3 quarterfinal, the host top-seeded Cardinals (21-7) went down meekly to the eighth-seeded Cougars (11-14) of Moraga. Cardinal Newman’s seven defensive errors led to seven unearned Campolindo runs.

“You can’t win a game with seven errors. We had one of those games that you can’t have in the playoffs,” Cardinal Newman coach Derek DeBenedetti said. “We didn’t play a very good game on all levels.”

Things started out badly immediately for the Cardinals as Moraga cashed in a five-run first inning against Cardinal Newman starter Gianni Cavallo (Loss, 4-plus innings, 7 runs/3 earned). The inning — which included a three-run Cougars homer — was enough to bury Cardinal Newman.

“Campolindo is much better than their record and their seed,” DeBenedetti said. “This was an atypical game for us.”

Cardinal Newman had ample offensive chances, including bases loaded in the first inning with one out, but failed to score.

“We lacked discipline and aggressiveness at the dish when we had opportunities early,” DeBenedetti said.

“It is a disappointing way to end the season. It’s tough. This game isn’t a reflection of our season. So many great things happened this season that we can’t hang our heads.”

Casa Grande 15, Petaluma 5

The host eighth-seeded Gauchos (14-11) swamped their rival ninth-seeded Trojans (14-11) in a Division 2 opening-round game by taking advantage of 16 walks issued by a litany of Petaluma pitchers.

Petaluma’s erratic pitching night gave Casa Grande an extraordinary 28 baserunners (16 walks, two hit batsmen, 10 hits) on the night.

“You have to be able to execute once you get those walks. We have been trying to teach plate discipline,” Casa Grande coach Chad Fillinger said. “Our offense has come alive at the right time.”

Casa Grande starter Mario Taormina (5 innings, 5 runs/4 earned, 6 hits) recorded the victory.

Starter Sam Brown (1⅔ innings, 4 runs) suffered the loss for Petaluma, which dropped three of its four meetings against Casa Grande this season.

Casa Grande was led offensively by Elijah Waltz (2 for 2, home run, 3 RBIs, 3 runs) and Nick Orella (2 for 2, 3 RBIs, 2 runs).

The Gauchos have won seven of their last eight games going into their quarterfinal game at top-seeded Redwood (Larkspur) Monday at 5 p.m.

“We feel great,” Fillinger said. “We have a lot of momentum and confidence right now.”

The Bay School 4, St. Vincent 0

In a Division 5 quarterfinal, the fifth-seeded Mustangs (21-4) could not muster much offense against the host fourth-seeded Breakers (19-3-1) of San Francisco.

“We hit the ball hard right at guys,” St. Vincent coach Stan Switala said. “But we didn’t hit it well enough to score any runs.”

A two-run, two-out dropped ball in the outfield by St. Vincent in the middle of the game proved pivotal.

“We had a tough error in the outfield that gave them (Breakers) two unearned runs. That was kind of the game changer,” Switala said. “Our pitchers threw well; they threw strikes.”

Windsor 6, Tamalpais 0

In a Division 2 first-round contest, the 14th-seeded Jaguars (16-7-1) stunned the host third-seeded Red-Tailed Hawks (18-8) of Mill Valley to advance to a quarterfinal game at 11th-seeded Alameda Monday at 5 p.m.

Windsor scored four runs in the second inning and tacked on solo runs in the sixth and seventh innings to seal the fate of Tamalpais.

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