By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona High School’s softball team finished its best season in school history by advancing through the winners’ bracket of the Division I playoffs to compete in the CIF finals May 31 where the Bulldog girls were defeated by No. 1-seeded Cathedral Catholic 6-1.
The No. 4-seeded Ramona team had beaten the Dons just one week earlier at Cathedral Catholic. The Lady Bulldogs finished the season with a 22-9 record and as the undefeated Valley League champions.
The semifinal game of the Division I playoffs was a classic slugfest. Both Ramona and Otay Ranch crushed the ball. When the dust finally settled after 30 hits and 26 runs, Ramona advanced to the finals, posting a 16-10 victory. It wasn’t easy, but it was exciting for the standing room-only crowd.
Leadoff batter Christina Barrameda did her job as she started the game with a single and scored. Kailey Hill scored the first of her four runs in the first inning as did Amber Davis. Ramona’s 3-0 lead was short- lived as the Otay Ranch player fought back with two runs of their own. The Lady Dawgs added four runs in the second inning and one more in the fourth to take an 8-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Otay Ranch rallied for five runs in the bottom of the frame and added one in the fifth to tie the score and take control of the momentum.
Then Ramona’s Jordyn Fick drove in pinch runner Sarah Whelehon with an RBI triple to give the Bulldog girls a 9-8 lead with one inning left to play. That inning produced nine runs. Ramona rallied for seven runs with the key hit being Hanah Bowen’s bases-loaded triple to take a 16-8 lead into the final frame.
Nobody counted Otay Ranch out as it mounted a rally and scored two runs before Ramona’s Heather Celaya fielded a two-out ground ball and tossed it to Hailey Brinker to end the game.
Every Lady Bulldog who went to the plate recorded a hit and eight of them drove in runs. Bowen and Fick, both freshmen, blasted three hits apiece. Barrameda, Hill, Brinker and Davis stroked two hits apiece. Bre Hirsh, Celaya, Ashley Pitman and Jonna Rodriguez also hit safely in the slugfest.
Bowen drove in four runs and Pittman had two RBIs. Hill, Celaya, Brinker, Davis, Rodriguez and Fick drove in one run apiece.
Hill went the distance and picked up the win.
After the game an elated coach Cori McDonald said, “We did what was needed to do to get to the championship game. Every player came through with a hit and contributed to the win. I couldn’t be more proud of my team. Our staff (Robin Brainard and Antoinette Rodriguez) works as a team. It was a team effort by the players and coaches.”
In the CIF championship game Ramona got off to a bad start as they gave up three unearned runs before a three-run homer put them behind 6-0 in the fourth inning. Fick continued to swing a hot bat as she recorded Ramona’s only RBI by driving in Brinker with a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth inning. Pittman went 2-for-3 and Hill had a 1-for-3 outing.
Hill got the start and took the loss as she went four innings. Bowen finished in the circle and tossed three shutout innings.