The Notre Dame High softball team appeared to be on its way to its fifth trip to the Central Coast Section semifinals in the last six years when the Tigers hit a bump in the road that knocked them off course.
The bump was partially self-induced, with an error triggering a decisive five-run sixth inning that doomed Notre Dame in an 8-6 loss to Soquel in a Division III quarterfinal at the Salinas Sports Complex on Saturday morning.
The fifth-seeded Tigers (17-12-1) out-hit their opponent 13-10, but they committed four errors.
“We were in control of the game the whole time until that sixth inning, but when you’re playing really good teams in these CCS games, errors will come back to bite you,” Notre Dame coach Carli Leary said.
The Tigers led most of the game.
They manufactured a run in the top of the first when Izzy Geronimo was hit by a pitch, took second on Aimee Miller’s sacrifice bunt, and scored on Beth Holden’s RBI single.
Notre Dame took a 3-1 lead with a two-run third, when Brianna Jurado and Lauren Henry each had RBI singles.
Geronimo homered in the top of the sixth to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead.
But then things unraveled in the bottom of the sixth, when No. 4 seed Soquel (23-4) scored five runs on three hits, two walks, an error and a sacrifice fly.
The Tigers rallied in the seventh, when Lauren Berriatua tripled in a run with two outs, but she was left stranded.
Notre Dame was seeking its first trip back to the finals since 2009, when the Tigers won their second title in three years.
“We had a season of ups and downs but the girls were great,” Leary said. “They were able to rally together in some tough games and sometimes we didn’t always come out on top but we played tough all season and I’m really proud of their efforts.”
Soquel 8, Notre Dame 6
ND -- 102 101 1 – 6 13 4
S -- 101 015 x – 8 10 2
WP: Hall. LP: McCann (6-6)
HR: Geronimo (ND). 3B: Vierra, Berriatua (ND); Hall, Sugimoto (S). 3 hits: McCann (ND); Sugimoto (S). 2 hits: Holden, Geronimo (ND); Bombachi (S). 2 RBI: Holden (ND); Hall (S).
Records: Notre Dame 17-12-1. Soquel 23-4