Softball team sweeps to CCS victory
After a false end to their season, and a series of pre-game missteps, the Stevenson softball team played until the very end to win the school’s first ever Softball CCS Championship.
Sophomore Scarlett Ingram explains, “We had a false ending to our season a couple of weeks before the CCS playoffs, which most definitely threw a wrench in the cohesiveness that we had developed.” This pause in practicing disrupted the routine of the Stevenson players and coaches, but they quickly recovered in their first two post-season games wins over Half Moon Bay (6-1) and Mills (12-1). Though they were met with a subsequent round of chaos the morning of their momentous championship game. With traffic and wrong turns the pirates arrived at Pal Stadium 30 minutes late, resulting in a shortened warm up session with no hitting practice at all. Additionally, one key player forgot their cleats forcing them to play the first inning in vans. But the team promptly refocused with the advice of their coach, Thomas Main. Sophomore starter Emma Hall divulges, “Thomas was like, ‘We just at the end of the day gotta go and play softball, gotta play the game.’” After having an average league season, this CCS moment was do or die. Hall discloses the thoughts going through her head about the game, she says, “This is it, we made it this far. Might as well get the dub.”
The game itself ran into extra innings, with the pirates winning 2-1 against Prospect of San Jose in the 10th inning. The pirates battled on defense and offense, keeping the score very close. Prospect was up 1-0 in the fourth inning until Sophomore Maya Chavez hit a line drive to right-center to even the score. Hall comments about Chavez’s performance, “I think she stepped up when we really needed it, really needed a hit, she really just kept us in the game.” Throughout the entirety of the game, energy was tangible, and the player’s encouragement for one another was at an all time high. Junior Alex Dalhamer explains, “[Sophomore Claren Wong] pitched 10 innings. She had some ups and downs but she was a solid rock through it all. Her energy and her focus was amazing…Every single strikeout she threw was just an incredible boost of energy for us, because we knew we had her back but also she was working so hard.” Wong went on to allow a mere two hits after the fourth inning, resulting in 7 powerful strikeouts. More highlights on defense were marked by the diving catch made by junior Sydney Clymo in centerfield; Freshman Sabrina Hardin says, “some true highlights were Sydney's diving catch in the outfield.” Another undeniable force inside and outside of the dugout was standout senior starter Gaby Perez. Hall resolves, “Gaby just being that constant force of positive energy…[she was] just always keeping that energy and making sure that everyone else was still in the game. She made some great plays on defense. And she held us together in a way.” Impressive newcomer to the Stevenson team, Freshman Sabrina Hardin, who has gone to prove her talent throughout the whole season, ripped the ball out to the fence in left-center in the ninth. The dugout went wild at the sight of this clutch hit, but as Coach Main egged on Hardin to continue into home plate, Hardin and the opposing catcher collided, resulting in Hardin being called out. This bump in the road could have changed the direction of the entire game, causing the team to sulk in the face of what could have been. But instead, they fought on.
In the 10th inning the California International TieBreaker rule was implemented, through which each team starts with a runner on second base at the beginning of the inning. With this being the pirate’s final shot and most important moment in regards to finally getting that win, Dalhamer came through. Being the first up to bat, with Chavez positioned at second, Dalhamer whacked the ball over the infielders heads into right-center field.
Dalhamer remarks, “The last hit when Maya came all the way to home, that was just the end of it, the tip of the iceberg, the happiest moment honestly.” The second it became clear that Dalhamer’s hit wouldn’t be caught, the moment Chavez stomped on home plate signifying the first ever Softball CCS win in Stevenson history, all of the girls in the dugout bursted onto the field. With screams and shouts of joy and pride the pirates celebrated. Running out to both Chavez at home and Dalhamer at second, jumping together in victory. Hall explains, “We all dropped whatever we were doing… the girl on deck dropped her bat, I dropped my glove and stuff that I was getting.” She thought to herself, “this is it, this is it,” after 10 innings that sweet relief of a hard-earned victory had finally come. Hardin adds her take on the pandemonium, “I immediately began to run to an opening of the dugout and I didnt know whether to go to [Chavez] or Alex. I was feeling so excited that I had been able to participate and watch something so historical as this as a freshman.” Dalhamer shares her emotional perspective on the final moments of the game: “I broke down. As soon as I saw that ball drop I turned around and I saw Thomas's arm waving [Chavez] by, and I broke down. I turned around at second base and started crying.”
A huge aspect of this championship win that made it so powerful was the impact of the senior players, this win being an ode to them and all their hard work. Dalhamer details her interaction with Gaby Perez the moment after her game-winning hit, “I saw Gaby, she ran out to me, gave me a hug. I’ve known Gaby for so many years and to be able to do this for her, give her that last win, it gave me so much joy. And I was just so happy, and everyone embracing each other. It was just overwhelming honestly.” Hall shares her take on Perez’s dedication to the team and her personal connection, on and off the field with Perez, “I think I felt more happy for Gaby than I did for myself… This whole season she’s given everything she’s had.” This same dedication is mirrored in the two other keystone seniors Graz Carmen, an incredibly encouraging teammate as well as a talented outfielder, and Baylee Zorn, the team’s reliable catcher and a sweet and energetic addition to the team. Dalhamer shares, “[Graz] gave everyone so much energy and hype, not just that game but throughout the season”; she carries on, “Baylee the entire time was a wall, it was amazing. She just gave so much passion for the game, and drive.”
This win was a huge victory for this particular team as a way to celebrate the seniors and all that the team has accomplished this season. Dalhamer declares, “Having the opportunity to show that we really are great and that we can push ourselves to win each game at CCS just showed everyone what we know is true.” This CCS Championship title was also historic for the school, adding to the emotion and excitement of the win. Hall reflects, “I think we are all super excited, super proud that we’re the ones that got to go all the way.” Hardin explains, “Our bond and trust in one another is what led us to this win.” Because of this team’s hard work, dedication, passion, and comradery, as detailed by Hardin, they have earned themselves a banner up on the gym wall that will be there for years to come.