Bearcats go 3-0 in pool play before falling to the Huntington Beach Oilers in a close game

By Lauren Lozano

Director of Sport/Head Softball Coach

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Lady Bearcats took third place in the Best of the West Tournament, hosted by Righetti High School, on April 13-15. The Bearcats edged Alemany High School during their first game of pool play Thursday afternoon, April 13, earning a hard-fought 8-7 win with senior pitcher Brooklyn Pesenti on the mound. 

At noon the following day, the Bearcats took on the El Capitan Gauchos, who are ranked second in their league. Brielle Burt and Mia Chambers put on a hitting clinic during the midday game, going 4-for-5 and 3-for-4, respectively. In the end, Paso Robles won 10-2, with junior pitcher Shelbi Griffith only giving up one earned run. 

The Bearcats wrapped up pool play against another team that is ranked second in their league, The Dos Pueblos Chargers. Burt opened up the scoring with a home run in the bottom of the second inning, only for Mia Reveles of the Chargers to hit a home run at the top of the third; however, Paso Robles would answer back in the bottom of the third on an RBI from pitcher Pesenti making the score 2-1. The score would not change again until the fifth inning when Dos Pueblos would score two more runs off a double. Paso Robles, however, was not done. Burt came up to bat in the bottom of the fifth inning and answered back the Chargers, blasting another home run to left center field to tie the game 3-3. 

In the bottom of the sixth, Pesenti started the inning with a lead-off single and was eventually brought in by Chambers. At this point, the Bearcats were firing on all cylinders. With Chambers on base, Morgan Meidem and Elie Chavez moved Chambers over to third base, and Marissa Rovenstine would drive her in for the final run of the game. Pesenti would go on to strike out the last batter of the game, helping the Bearcats go 3-0 in pool play during the Best of the West Tournament. 

Their three wins in pool play, brought the Bearcats to the championship game on Saturday morning at Righetti against the Huntington Beach Oilers, who got things started right away as they scored two runs in the bottom of the second inning. 

During the top of the fifth inning, the Bearcats scored one run off of a hard single from Rovenstine and an RBI double from Kylee Nancolas, making the score 2-1. 

It would not be until the top of the seventh that things would get interesting. Meidam would get the inning started for the Bearcats with a single and then was moved over on a perfectly executed bunt by Chavez. With Meidam on second base, Rovenstine hit a pop-up to the first baseman, who loses it in the sun, giving Paso Robles two runners on base with one out. The next batter would fly out to the pitcher, leaving the number four hitter, Aalia Torres, up to bat with two outs and two runners on base in the top of the seventh inning.

On a 1-2 count, Torres ripped a hard ground ball past between third and short, scoring Meidam and Rovenstine, and putting Paso Robles in the lead for the first time, 3-2. The Oilers would get out of the inning and get a chance at the plate, loading the bases within their first three batters and earning their tying run by getting hit by a pitch putting the score at 3-3. Then, Huntington Beach’s third baseman would win the game for the Oilers, hitting a grand slam on her first pitch of the at-bat, leaving the final score 7-3 and sending Paso Robles into the third/fourth place game. 

Still not done fighting, the Bearcats went back to Hagerman Softball Complex, ready to end the tournament with one more win against the Royal High Highlanders. The Bearcats were ready and looking to score some runs. Pitcher/outfielder Griffith would get the first RBI of the game, scoring Chambers, who was on base for hitting a triple down the right field line. The Bearcats would continue to pour it on in the bottom of the third inning when both Nancolas and Pesenti found themselves on base with Chambers up to bat. 

With a 1-1 count, Chambers blasted the ball over dead center field to give Paso Robles the 4-0 lead that would stay until the top of the sixth when the Highlanders would end up tying the Bearcats off of five singles, a sacrifice fly, and and error. With the score 4-4, the Bearcats would hold the Royals there for the rest of the game. During the bottom of the seventh inning, Nancolas would get things started with a double. Kendell Nancolas, her cousin, would come in to pinch run for her. With no outs, the Bearcats’ number four hitter, Burt, would lay down a textbook sacrifice bunt to help move Kendell Nancolas over to the third base. Pitcher Pesenti would be the next up the plate after having thrown 14 innings that Saturday — seven innings on Friday, and seven innings on Thursday, totaling 28 innings over the span of three days. Pesenti, on her second pitch, would hit a no-doubter home run to walk the game off in the bottom of the seventh inning, helping win the third-place game for the Best of the West Tournament.