The Cal State Northridge softball team ended its 2006 season strong, as the Matadors swept the UC Davis Aggies 3-2 and 6-4 in a May 12 doubleheader before closing out the season with a 4-0 win at Matador Diamond on senior day May 13.
“Give credit to all the girls because they never stopped fighting,” said head coach Barbara Jordan. “Great things happen because of that.”
In the first game, the Matadors overcame a solid pitching effort by Lindsay Tognetti, who struck out 11 batters, to post a come-from-behind victory, courtesy of the bat of freshman Amanda Peek.
In the second inning, freshman Selena Salazar ran into trouble. With one out, Salazar walked Sarah O’Neill, then after striking out Christina Grimm, Salazar walked Jodie Valley. The next batter, Trish Paine, hit a shot to the gap in left-center field. The result was a triple that scored O’Neill and Valley, giving the Aggies a 2-0 lead.
Tognetti also gave the Matadors trouble, as she struck out the first six batters she faced before junior Kelly Zakosek ended the no-hitter, as she laid down a successful bunt down the first base line.
CSUN finally got on the board in the fourth inning. Senior Janine Grund singled to right with one out. Freshman Sarah Kahn pinch-ran for Grund and one batter later, junior Megan Smith doubled to left to bring Kahn home.
An inning later, the Matadors had a chance to take the lead, as they loaded the bases with two outs, but Tognetti struck out Grund to end that threat.
CSUN, however, got its chance in the seventh inning. Sophomore Jackie Duree led off the inning with a single, then freshman Stacy Milne laid down a sacrifice bunt to get Duree to second. After freshman Micah Putman flew out to left-center, Peek came up to the plate. After falling behind in the count 1-2, Peek sent Tognetti’s next pitch over the left field wall for her 13th home run of the year.
“I was just trying to make contact with the ball,” Peek said. “It was 1-2 and they weren’t suppose to give me many pitches, but obviously they were, the pitcher was missing and I just made contact.”
UC Davis 4
Davis looked to redeem itself in the next game, and again struck in the second inning when Ashley Johnson sent a Sam Schroeder pitch deep over the center field wall for her sixth home run of the year and a 1-0 Aggie lead.
The lead, however, didn’t last long, as the Matadors quickly responded in their half of the second. Smith started the rally when she safely reached first on an Aggie error. Zakosek then walked and senior left fielder Jamie Pederson sent one to the left field wall, which brought home Smith, Zakosek and Pederson to third. Duree then laid down a successful bunt to score Pederson, giving CSUN a 4-1 lead.
UC Davis responded in the fourth inning, as Nikki Sheldon singled with two outs and O’Neill became the second Aggie to take Schroeder deep to center for a two-run home run, which cut CSUN’s lead to 4-3.
The Matadors, however, got those two runs back in the fifth inning when Grund drew a one-out walk and senior Jan Moshier sent a Grimm pitch deep to left over the wall for her seventh home run of the year.
The Aggies got a run across in the sixth and in the seventh got a runner to third before Natalie Moss grounded out to second to end the game.
UC Davis 0
Prior to the start of the season finale, the Matadors took some time to honor its four seniors Grund, Moshier, Pederson and Heather Martin.
Martin made her last game at Matador Diamond a good one, as she made a diving catch of a Johnson flyball in foul territory in the first inning to end a Davis threat.
CSUN got on the board in the second inning when Smith doubled with two outs and Kelly Zakosek laced a grounder that glanced off the second baseman’s glove into center field to score Smith, giving CSUN an early 1-0 lead.
CSUN then broke the game open in the fourth. Smith drew a one-out walk, then Zakosek reached on a fielders’ choice. Pederson, though, delivered for the Matadors, as she doubled to left-center to score Zakosek. Duree then hit a blooper that found the grass in right for a single that scored Pederson.
Martin then hit a deep flyball to left-center that just missed being a home run, as it bounced off the wall. The end result was a double that scored Duree, giving CSUN a 4-0 lead.
CSUN’s four runs were enough for Salazar, as she finished with a complete game shutout, giving her 13 wins on the season.
For seniors Grund, Martin, Moshier and Pederson, though the 2006 season ended without a trip to the postseason, all four of them will have nothing but good memories of their experience at Northridge.
I’ll remember the girls, the team, the girls the most, the coaches, just the times we had … how everybody wants it so much, there’s not one person on the team that wouldn’t die to be out here,” Pederson said.
“Just the unbelievable friendships and teamwork and everybody pulling for each other, you can’t find that anywhere else,” Martin said.
“All the good times, everybody playing together,” Grund said.
CSUN finished the 2006 season with a 22-20 record, 8-10 in conference play, outing in a tie for fifth place in the Big West Conference with UC Santa Barbara.
CSUN, though, went 1-8 to start conference play, the Matadors finished strong, winning 10 of its last 12 games to end on a positive note.
“Sometimes when you win and it’s easy, you don’t learn a lot of lessons and when you lose and it’s hard and you fight through it, you learn a lot of lessons,” Jordan said. “I think we learned a lot of lessons this year and I think the many lessons we learned this year is going to show what type of year we have next year.”
Ivan Yeo can be reached at email@example.com.