Softball: Gators in regional final without playing a game
Updated: July 2, 2012 9:02AM
Before dropping a pair of conference game to end the regular season, Guerin already knew it would be in the regional title game on Saturday at home.
The Gators have had a hit-or-miss season mainly hitting on all cylinders out of conference while struggling in the stacked Suburban Christian Conference. They dropped a 6-2 decision to Montini on senior day on May 14, before falling 5-1 at Rosary on May 16.
With a forfeit by Kelvyn Park in the opening game of the regional, which was scheduled for Tuesday, third-seeded Guerin awaits the winner of the Payton-Noble Street Charter/Muchin game to see who will stand between them and their fifth straight regional championship. They can erase all the struggles of the regular season with a regional-title win.
“Conference didn’t go as we would have liked it,” said Guerin head coach Andy DaMato. “It’s really about our seniors and what they’ve built here, winning four straight regionals and their being part of the last three. Hopefully that’ll be a big part for them. Luckily our juniors are a confident bunch as a lot of them play travel ball so the pressure to step up in the playoffs isn’t that much.”
Sophomore Sarah Benavides went the distance against Montini, allowing nine hits and four walks while striking out three. Six errors didn’t help the Guerin cause one bit as three of the six runs allowed were unearned.
Senior Amanda Rice threw well in her outing at Rosary. She also allowed nine hits, while striking out two, but four errors didn’t do her a lot of good either.
Hitting has been an issue all season. The Gators (10-14, 3-13) managed to tie the game against Montini, but only scored in one inning when junior Jessi Catallo and senior Molly Campbell each drove in runs. In the top of the first at Rosary, Guerin sent seven batters to the plate and only scored one run with Campbell driving in Catallo before the Gators left the bases loaded. They only left two base runners the rest of the contest.
In order for the winning tradition to continue, the Gators will have to play better defense and will have to string a few hits together.
“Hitting is a big thing,” DaMato said. “We’re only getting three or four batters per inning. When I originally agreed to come into this job, it was not just to have some fun. We want to have fun, but I expect the tradition to live on. Anything short of a regional championship is a disappointment, and we’re going to focus on that.”