SFU softball struggle in Tournament of Champions in California road trip

Tough competition wears down the Clan as team goes 1–4

Amanda James had the game winning RBI in the only Clan win over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics)

Over this past weekend, the SFU softball team travelled down to Turlock, California to play in the Tournament of Champions, hosted by Stanislaus State. Things didn’t go the way the Clan would have hoped, as the team lost four of the five games it played in, with a game against the host team being cancelled due to weather. The team didn’t quite play to their potential in any of the games other than the win against Notre Dame de Namur University on Sunday morning. However, if the team’s 12–8 record has anything to say, wins should be coming again shortly.

Day one

On Friday, the team played a double header against Azusa Pacific University and Humboldt State University. Both games were losses. The first game saw an incredible pitching performance from Azusa’s Kat Ung and Gaby Grabowski, who combined to throw a perfect game heading into the bottom of the seventh and final inning. While the Clan would lose the match, they took away Azusa’s perfect game as smile-ending as possible, with a homerun from shortstop Taylor Lundrigan to lead off the final inning. Unfortunately, this is about the only thing that went the Clan’s way in the game, as they eventually lost 4–1.

The second game showed more promise for SFU, but eventually they would finish with a disappointing result in this one as well. The team actually held a brief lead in the fourth inning after scoring two runs to take a 2–1 lead, but this would short-lived. Humboldt State would come back in the fifth inning with two runs, before extending the lead to 6–2 after three runs in the seventh inning. Jessica Tate pitched the entire game for the Clan, giving up five earned runs in the effort. This is her first loss of the season, to accompany the three wins she has so far this campaign.

Day two

Disappointing results would continue into Saturday, with the team dropping the only game it played in heartbreaking fashion to Dominican University of California. After quiet bats in both games one and two of the tournament, the team exploded for eleven hits in the game, but just came up short. SFU started off great, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning, but unfortunately their opponent would do the same.

After a scoreless top half of the second inning, Dominican University would take the lead in the bottom half, 3–2. It wasn’t until the top of the fifth that the Clan bounced back, with a huge two-run single by Amanda Janes to take a 4–3 lead. It seemed that the team was finally getting back into their groove. But not quite. A long rain delay in the bottom of the fifth inning took away the Clan’s momentum. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Dominican would deliver the final blow of the game, with a throwing error costing the Clan a run, before Alyssa Ramirez hit a walk off single to right field.

James was the star of the game, with a three-hit, three runs-batted-in performance. The team was unable to redeem themselves in the afternoon, as their game against Stanislaus State was cancelled.

Day three

The only win of the weekend would come for the Clan in their first game on Sunday, as they defeated Notre Dame de Namur University 5–3. A single by Taylor Lundrigan gave the team a run in the first inning, before a Victoria Saunders single gave the team two runs in the second. Notre Dame would come back to tie the game in the top of the third inning, scoring three runs. Finally, however, things would go the Clan’s way, as a single from Janes gave the team the lead in the fifth inning, before a fielder’s choice in the sixth inning gave SFU an insurance run. Alia Stachoski finished off the complete game in style, shutting out Notre Dame after the third inning. Her record is now 8–3 on the season.

There is not much to be said about the final game of the tournament, other than the Clan went up against the 30–3 Chico State Wildcats. Things went about how you would expect, as SFU were blown out 8–0 to be sent home packing. For a weekend that did not go the Clan’s way, this was not the ideal matchup to wrap it up. The Clan are now 12–8 on the season.

The team will get back to Great Northwest Athletic Conference play next week, as they take on Northwest Nazarene University next weekend on Friday and Saturday. The Friday double header starts at 1 p.m., while the Saturday games begin at 11 a.m.