By Jeremy McDonald
It's getting down to crunch time in the CCCAA NorCal Super Regional Playoffs.
Faced with elimination after dropping their first game, Sierra College softball proved why they were tough as Del Campo graduate Halie Howell's RBI single was the difference maker in the 1-0 victory Saturday evening .
"I was excited, I was so pumped," she said. "I was so happy that Courtney scored. I saw her score and I started clapping and I was really excited.
The game was a defensive sluggfest capped by strikeouts and amazing plays on defense by both teams.
Sierra's Howell had an inning killer from her center field position with a leaning forward catch in the top of the fourth.
But that was outdone by Cabrillo's Mikal Cuellar who ran from her left field position for a stretched out catch at center field in the next half inning.
"Defense was key," said Kelley. "It was such a close game that one swing could've changed it."
In the fifth however, that swing came for the Wolverines offense started when Kelley singled.
A catcher interference call and a connection on a swing by Howell to shallow left field that scored Kelly.
"It was really important, it's we win or we're done," said Howell. "To get that hit, it was really exciting."
Jordan Becker (of Bella Vista) reminded tough permitting a three-hitter a game in her complete game after her throwing a no-hitter Friday.
Her defense behind her finished strong after two errors against Consumes River College earlier in the day that resulted in a 11-3 loss to start the day.
"Jordan came out and held them, they only had three hits all game," said Wolverines head coach Darci Brownell. "We played them tight. I'm proud on how they hit and field.
"They have a lot of fast kids on that team and we held them in check, I'm proud of how Jordan performed and how our defense performed."
Up next for Sierra is the team that put them in the Loser's Bracket in the first place. Consumes River College.
Needing two wins to make it to the State Championship Final Four in Bakersfield the weekend of May 16, the strategy is to own the moment and relax.
"We just need to forget about it,: said Kelley."As our coach (Brownell) said, 'we need to find our swag' because a lot of us question it and you just need to own it.
For coach it's more of the same.
"Relax and play softball," said Brownell. "We need to just relax. We've played this game for years, years and year, they've played the game on this field for eight months now just play.
"Win, lose or draw. Just relax, have fun and play the game."