Mike Greenwood knew there was a chance of a let down.
His Los Banos softball team exercised some of their playoff demons with an upset of top-seeded Casa Roble – a team that had beaten the Tigers two straight years in the postseason – on Thursday.
The same squad didn’t show up for Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV quarterfinal with Marysville. A nervy Los Banos team was rocked by a five-run first inning from the Indians, capped by a Josie Rapp grand slam, before starter Kiara Azevedo could record an out.
LB never recovered. Greenwood’s team was mercy-ruled 10-0 in a six-inning loss to Marysville. The Tigers then spotted Calaveras a seven-run lead before battling back to a 7-3 loss in the afternoon elimination game.
“I was definitely worried, because we were so high after the Casa Roble win,” Greenwood said. “And whenever you’re up that high, it’s almost always followed by a low.
“Kiara wasn’t on her game today. Everything seemed to trickle from that. We didn’t defend well. We didn’t do a good job making adjustments at the plate. We just weren’t ready to play today.”
Greenwood was hoping to see a little fight after Los Banos (17-12) was no-hit for the first time all season in the opener.
It was Calavares (25-5) that seized the momentum right away, however, plating three runs on three hits in the first inning.
Kayla Kappmeyer singled to open the inning and came in to score on an Alexis Dawe single. Alexis Cardon tripled in Dawe and then came in to score when the throw to third kicked into the Calaveras dugout.
Calaveras tacked on two runs each in the second and third innings to push its lead to 7-0.
LB finally seemed to settle in after that and started chipping away at the lead.
Savannah West ended 9 2/3 innings without a hit with an opposite-field single in the third. The Tigers got on the board for the first time in the next inning. Halley Ballez got the rally started by forcing a two-base error on a bunt. The junior moved up to third on an Azevedo fly ball to right and came in to score on an Emily Lonetree ground out.
Los Banos threatened to make it a game with some two-out magic in the fifth.
Ballez drove in Aly Waltman with a double. Azevedo then singled her home to make it 7-3. It was a close as the Tigers would get.
“Obviously, this isn’t the performance we wanted to give,” Waltman said. “I don’t know if we were as focused as we needed to be and then the first inning of the first game really rattled us. We never seemed to get our energy up for the second game.
“It sucks to have it end like this, but this is the farthest we’ve ever gone in the playoffs in my career, so there are still some positives.”