Last Update: Wednesday, August 27, 2014
|Chancellors Can’t Corral the Colts|
|Written by San Fernando Valley Sun|
|Thursday, 05 June 2014 04:04|
Carson’s Powerful Lineup Finally Overcomes Chatsworth In Division I Final
By Mike Terry Sun Contributing Writer
No one wants to reach a championship game and lose. But if that is your fate, you at least want to understand why.
Chatsworth Coach Jay Creps has no problem with how or why the Chancellors lost to Carson in the 2014 City Division I softball final. Hands down, the Colts are still the City’s best team.
With its 8-4 victory on May 31 at UCLA, Carson (28-5) cinched a second straight title and third championship in the past four years thanks to its relentless lineup that caught up to and overpowered a game Chatsworth crew led early in the contest.
It’s a lineup that includes four four players — juniors Brianna Tautalafua (UCLA) and Hilllary Edior (Arizona), and sophomores Aniesa Maulupe (Cal State Long Beach) and Danika Justice (Cal State Northridge) — that have verbally committed to D-I universities. It’s the kind of lineup that can keep a ponderous load of pressure on a pitcher and defense, not many can stand up to it.
Chatsworth (22-11) did all it could to hang in there, even leading the Colts twice in the contest, but ultimately fell to a team that won its last 18 consecutive games.
“This time we had a worthy opponent [in Carson] — and I hate to say that I don’t think we had that in 2010 — that these are good ethical and have a good team. I respect their program; they have great players. They probably have the greatest player in the state of California (in Tautalafua). The coaching staff is topnotch.”
Ah yes, 2010, the last time Chatsworth appeared in the Division I final. The Chancellors lost that game to Kennedy, 1-0 on a controversial umpire’s decision. Creps can’t shake the feeling the game was stolen from his team.
“I still can’t watch the video of that game,” the coach said. “It’s still laying on the bookcase in my bedroom.”
The loss to Carson didn’t cause the same level of angst for Creps; at least this time the Chancellors had leads.
Chatsworth went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first when Kaitlin Ryder doubled with two out, and scored after Tesharra Hill’s grounder was mishandled by Cason pitcher Ramie Barajas, then picked up by Tautalafua who threw wildly to first base for an error.
Carson tied in the second on a solo homer by Maulupe. But the Chancellors went back in front in the fourth on a solo home run from Jaylen Watson, and a two-out RBI single from Hailey Haynes.
The Chancellors then had a chance to blow the game open. After Barajas walked Michelle Olmos, she was replaced on the mound by Jessica Robledo. Up at bat was Ryder — who will attend the University of Texas- El Paso next fall — and she launched a deep fly to left. It appeared the ball had a chance to go out, but the Colts’ Cynthia Ruiz caught it right up against the fence.
“It hit just below the yellow line (that indicates a home run). That might have changed the game,” Creps said.
Chatsworth then put the game in the hands of its pitcher, sophomore Kyla Gendler, who two days earlier had pitched all 12 innings of the 2-1 semifinal upset of top seed El Camino Real. Gendler threw 147 pitches in that game; if she felt any fatigue in this game she didn’t let on. But she also wasn’t razor sharp against Carson. Gendler had to throw another 135 pitches at the Colts in her 5.2 innings of work. She struck out eight, but also gave up eight hits, walked five and hit two batters.
And in the fifth inning, neither Gendler or Chatsworth could hold back the Carson offense any longer.
The Colts loaded the bases on three straight walks. Gendler almost got out of trouble, getting Maulupe to pop up to second and striking out Robledo. But she hit Madison Loui to force in a run, Ruiz followed with a single to right that got past Watson for an error, and cleared the bases for a 5-3 Carson lead.
Maulupe iced the contest an inning later with her second home run off Gendler, a threerun shot to right.
“We had an error that cost us a little bit, but we gave up a couple of home runs, too,” Creps said. “The error didn’t cost us the game. We still lost by four. I thought the key to the game was that Carson was very patient. They looked at a lot of pitches, where we didn’t. If we could have looked at more pitches it would have helped us.”
Creps also dismissed any notion that Chatsworth might have put everything into beating El Camino Real and had no emotional reserve left for Carson.
“My girls are always ready to play,” he said. “We played the second toughest schedule in the City Section after Granada Hills…we don’t come out here to pick on the weak sisters, we play the big girls. You’ve gotta play them sooner or later so you might as well play them all through the season then just run into them at the end, where they just run you over.”
A good chunk of the Carson team returns next season to try for a three-peat. After runnerup finishes in 2010 and 2014, Creps would be happy to get one.
“Carson has a great team and they deserve it. I hope they’re back here again; I’m planning on us to be here, and let’s do the dance again.”