By Bill Tamburrino
Fans attending a Ramona High School softball game don’t leave early. The Lady Dawgs don’t give up and have a tendency to score in the late innings.
The Lady Bulldogs opened their varsity season in the Cougar Classic at Kit Carson Park, beating Santana and Rancho Buena Vista and tying San Pasqual in pool play to earn a berth in the Gold Bracket in championship play, where they lost to Carlsbad in extra innings.
Ramona opened the game against Santana by scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Jazmin Simone, Kim Whelehon, and Kailey Hill opened the game with singles to load the bases. With one out, Julie Ward walked to drive in a run, and Christina Barrameda drove in a run with a fielder’s choice.
Santana scored four runs in the third to take a 4-2 lead and added a run in the fifth to lead 5-2 going into the final frame.
In that frame Ramona not only had to beat Santana High School, but had to struggle with the sprinkling system in frigid weather. The sprinklers came on during the inning and play had to be changed to another field where the sprinklers came on as soon as play resumed. Somebody finally figured out how to turn off the automatic sprinklers, and the game was completed.
Ramona sent 11 hitters to the plate in the sixth inning and scored seven runs for a victory. Barrameda and Megan Wright each collected two hits in the inning. Simone, Whelehon, and Hill also collected hits in the rally, and Kenzie Wright hit safely in the game.
Hill picked up the victory in the circle. She struck out seven, walked three, and limited the Sultans to five hits.
Hill pitched a gem in a 2-2 tie against San Pasqual. The sophomore right-hander struck out 10 and only gave up two walks and two hits. She also hit a triple in the first inning but was stranded on third.
Ramona scored two runs on three hits in the second inning. Barrameda led off with a single and advanced to third on a Megan Wright double. Kenzie Wright was hit by a pitch to load the bases. With one out, Ally Harvey delivered a clutch two-run single.
Hill got the day off in the circle against Rancho Buena Vista but did not take a break at the plate as she went three for four with three RBIs, a triple, and a home run.
Both teams played long ball. Ward got the win. She gave up four runs on five hits and struck out four. All of the Lady Longhorn runs were the results of three home runs.
Ramona scored in the first when Simone opened the game with a base on balls. Whelehon drove her in with a triple and Hill drilled a two-run home run to left.
Ramona scored in the second when Kassandra Toll led off with a single and advanced to third on back to back singles by Simone and Whelehon. She scored on an RBI fielder’s choice by Melgoza.
The Ranch tied the game in the bottom of the sixth, but the Lady Dawgs rallied to win the game in the seventh inning. Whelehon worked the Longhorn pitcher for a base on balls, and Hill delivered what could have been a home run but ended up as an RBI triple. Hill hit the longest ball of the night but RBV’s outfielders were playing her as deep as possible and got the ball back into the infield to hold Hill to a triple.
Ward could smell the victory and recorded a one, two, three inning to ensure the win. The RBV victory earned Ramona a spot in the Gold Division playoffs of the tournament.
Hill pitched her best game of the week, but the Lady Dawgs lost 2-1 in extra innings to Carlsbad on the tie breaker. Hill fanned 11, walked four, and limited the Lancers to four hits.
Carlsbad scored in the sixth inning without getting a hit. The leadoff batter was hit by a pitch, stole two bases, and scored on a passed ball. Hill struck out the side in the inning.
As was said, “Don’t leave early.” Hill led off the seventh with a double. Melgoza then singled setting the stage for Barrameda’s clutch RBI game-tying single.
The way the tie-breaker works is the leadoff batter gets placed on second base. The runner was sacrificed to third and scored on a single.
Ramona will finish the tournament this week and then play in the North County Tournament at Cardiff Sports Park in Encinitas on Saturday.