The American Canyon High softball team, in the playoffs for the sixth straight season, nearly pulled out its first postseason victory since 2014 on a cold, set Wednesday evening in Antioch.
The Wolves, seeded 10th in their first-ever North Coast Section Division 2 playoffs, came back to tie host Antioch twice, forcing extra innings, before the No. 7 Panthers pulled out a 4-3 win in the 10th inning.
Antioch (17-8) never trailed after sophomore Hailey Painter led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run – her fourth of the season, all of them in the last two weeks.
The Wolves (12-10-1), after leaving six runners on base in the first three innings, finally tied it in the top of the fifth when Yanesa Rosas singled in fellow freshman Alexis Abalos.
But the Panthers answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth thanks to three errors and a RBI single. American Canyon’s lone senior, pitcher Lisa Bolton, got out of the jam with a strikeout and popup.
Bolton got in a groove after that and faced just four batters in the sixth, opening the door for the Wolves to tie it up in the seventh.
Raegan Roldan-Jackson led off with a single and took second base on Abalos’ third sacrifice bunt of the game. The Antioch second baseman then tried a back pick, but the ball sailed into left field and Roldan-Jackson scored to make it 3-2.
With one out and a 2-2 count, junior slugger Katherine Montuya tied the game 3-3 with her eighth home run of the season. Bolton recorded a key strikeout in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings. She stayed on a roll, retiring the side in order in the eighth and stranding one base runner in the ninth.
The international tiebreaker rule went into effect in the 10th, allowing each team to start with a runner at second base. In the top half, American Canyon junior Jazmin Barrientos advanced to third on a passed ball but was stranded.
In the bottom half, the Panthers also got their runner to third with two outs. But she was able to score the winning run when a grounder stayed on the foul line between home and first base for an infield single as the Wolves expected it to roll foul.
“Just one of those things that happens,” summed up American Canyon head coach Roger Harris, whose team struck out 15 times, left 12 runners on base, and managed six hits. “We didn’t cash in on the opportunities that we had.”
In the last game of her fourth season as the Wolves’ ace, Bolton faced 43 batters and allowed two earned runs, nine hits and zero walks while hitting three batters and striking out nine on 153 pitches.
Antioch will face the winner of Friday’s opener between No. 2 seed Benicia and No. 15 Las Lomas.