40 & 0 AND LOOKING FOR 43: A perfect 43 is the target for College of San Mateo's unbeaten and top-ranked softball team entering the California Community College Athletic Association Championships at Bakersfield College, May 15-17.
The first CSM softball team to complete a perfect regular season (35-0) has added a 5-0 playoff record and will be seeking the college's first state crown
The past weekend's Super Regional sweep at home wasn't easy. Twice the Bulldogs had to overcome their biggest deficits of the year to turn back visiting San Joaquin Delta College, 8-6 and 7-5, to advance to the Final Four.
STATE TOURNEY: San Mateo's opponent in Friday's state finals opener at Bakersfield is Orange Empire Conference champion Cypress College (37-8) at 5:30 p.m. CSM enters the state event as the Northern California No. 1 team for the third straight season. Palomar College (38-3-1) of San Marcos is the south's No. 1 seed and faces Cosumnes River (31-11-1) from Sacramento in Friday's 8 p.m. game. Competition in the double elimination event continues on Saturday and concludes on Sunday afternoon.
Regional Notes: Pacific Coast Conference champion Palomar was the final qualifier, on Monday, sweeping its rain-delayed regional with a 6-1 victory over El Camino. Cypress won its regional final over Santiago Canyon, 9-8. Big 8 champion Cosumnes River ousted defending state champion Sierra on Sunday in a NorCal regional. (It was then top south seed Santiago Canyon that eliminated CSM in the 2014 Final Four, 8-6.)
Coast North Conference champion CSM dispatched Coast South champ West Valley College, 7-0, with a dozen hits in Friday's Super Regional opener behind pitcher Lauren Berriatua's 1-hitter. The sophomore out of Notre Dame (Belmont) struck out ten and didn't let a ball go out of the infield to claim her 25th victory. She also had two hits and two RBIs. Melina Rodriguez had two home runs. Harlee Donovan had three hits, including a double, and scored twice.
In Saturday's first game with Delta, the Bulldogs had their biggest deficit of the season, down 5-0 going into the bottom of the third inning. CSM bounced back with three runs in that frame, three more in the fifth, and two in the sixth to take a 8-6 victory. Berriatua had a home run and two hits and Leilani Akai had three hits. Donovan, a freshman out of Half Moon Bay High, had two hits and three RBIs. Rodriguez had two hits and scored three times. Lacie Crawford was the winning pitcher to go 14-0 on the season with a 1.45 E.R.A (to rank No. 5 in the state).
State pitching leader Berriatua (0.85 E.R.A.) got behind, 3-1, after three innings of Sunday's game but survived to record her 13th complete game and 26th victory. The Bulldogs took control with six runs in the fourth inning as Donovan hit a two-run homer to increase her state leads in home runs (19) and RBIs (75).
CSM TOPS STATE IN TEAM CATEGORIES: San Mateo leads the state's 80 community college teams in most offensive categories: runs scored (432), team batting average (.440), slugging percentage (.727), doubles (107), home runs (63), RBIs (398), extra base hits (178), total bases (789), and on base percentage (.504).