TEMPLETON — The Templeton softball team’s magical run came to an end last week in the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Central Section DIII semifinal losing to the no. 2 overall seed, Liberty, 1-0 at Vineyard Elementary. Liberty was able to get on the board in the second inning on a two-out single, which would ultimately turn out to be the game’s only run. Templeton finished the season 18-5 overall.
The Eagles entered this season with little expectations in the Mountain League but quickly began turning heads as they kept on winning and eventually found themselves in first place with just three games to go in the regular season. Templeton kicked off their season on Mar. 24 against the Pioneer Valley Panthers and cruised to an 8-2 victory. A few days later, the girls in green would host Arroyo Grande, one of the top-ranked teams in the section and favorites in the Mountain League, and barely lose 6-5. Following the tough loss to Arroyo Grande, Templeton reeled off 13 straight wins.
Not only did the Eagles win every game for nearly two straight months, throughout their 13 wins, only one of them was within one run while six of them were double-digit victories. Templeton also had three wins by 15 or more runs during their winning.
The winning streak came to an end right where it started with Arroyo Grande. Templeton’s schedule was set up so that they would play the top two Mountain League teams in the last two series of the season, Arroyo Grande and Paso Robles. Thus, Templeton entered the first series unbeaten in league play and in first place in one of the toughest divisions in the Central Section.
The first game of the series between AG and Templeton was an instant classic in Templeton. The two teams battled for seven innings, with Templeton ahead by one for most of the game. However, Arroyo Grande tied the game up in the seventh, which sent the game to extras, where both teams would score three runs. Arroyo Grande would eventually win the game 9-7 and the series 2-1.
Entering the final series of the regular season, Templeton still had a shot at the outright Mountain League crown but needed to sweep the Bearcats in order to claim it. Templeton took the first game 15-4 but dropped the first game of the Saturday doubleheader, 7-6, ending the season 12-6 in league, tied with the same record as Arroyo Grande.
Senior pitcher Charlotte Forniss operated as the Eagles ace this season and was excellent in the circle, throwing multiple shutouts while also swinging the bat. Offensively and defensively, Templeton was the top team in the Mountain League this year, scoring 153 runs while only surrendering 50, both league bests.
The girls entered the postseason as the no. 2 overall seed in the Division III playoffs, which earned them a first-round bye and home-field advantage until the CIF Championship game.
Templeton hosted Lemoore, the no. 10 seed, in the quarterfinals and rolled to an 18-0 as Forniss threw a one-hitter and nine different Eagles recorded an RBI. Five days later, Templeton would host the semifinal against Liberty with a shot to play for a CIF title on the line.
Liberty gained a 1-0 lead in the second inning and held onto it until the very end. All in all, it was a defensive battle and pitchers dual as the two teams only combined for nine total hits, but the Eagles had their chances late. Templeton’s best chance came in the bottom of the sixth inning when they loaded up the bases before recording a single out.
The Eagles would have one more opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning following an Alyssa Moore double and a Bella Backer walk but were just unable to get the final hit to drive in the tying run.