TEMPLETON - There will be no three-peat for the Selma Bears.
Selma’s Division III title defense ended with a 14-3 loss to the No. 2 seeded Templeton Eagles in a mercy-shortened game in the semifinals on May 14.
The Eagles, who eventually won the Division III title, scored 10 runs in the fifth inning to clinch the mercy-rule victory.
“Most of, maybe all of those runs were scored with two outs,” Bears coach Chris Tapia said. “It was really unfortunate to end that way and to have it end with a blink of an eye with two outs. It was a pretty tough pill to swallow.”
The Bears entered the Division III playoffs as the No. 3 seed and began it’s playoff run with wins over Nipomo (11-2) in the first round and Lemoore (6-4) in the quarterfinals.
For Selma to make in it’s fourth consecutive Central Section title appearance, the Bears would have to go through Templeton ace Ashley Daugherty, who is a Texas A&M commit.
With a 2-0 lead, the future Aggie held Selma scoreless for the first three innings. The Eagles added two more runs to it’s lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Down 4-0 against Daugherty, Bears sophomore catcher Genna Martinez got her team on the board.
Martinez hit a solo home run to cut Templeton’s lead to 4-1 in the fourth inning. After the Eagles were held scoreless in the bottom of the frame, Selma scored twice in the top of the fifth inning to make it a one-run game.
“Other than the home run, we had to scrap for it,” Tapia said. “We had to make our adjustments to small ball pretty much and it got us back in the game.”
Despite fighting back in the top of the fifth, Selma struggled to put the ball in play and make contact against Daugherty for majority of the game.
Daugherty had 12 strikeouts and allowed four hits with one walk in five innings against the Bears.
Selma was outhit 16-4 by the Eagles.
“She didn’t overpower us as much as we thought she would and she ended up throwing a lot of drop balls and mixing speeds well and keeping us off balance,” Tapia said about Daugherty. “Yeah, we didn’t put too many balls in play.”
Tapia’s first season as the Bears’ coach ends at 18-10 overall (6-6 Central Sequoia League), which was two more wins than last year’s 16-9 finish.
When putting his first season into perspective, Tapia said he hasn’t had to time to reflect on it, but his initial thoughts were the year was successful, but it didn’t end with a Valley championship.
“Managing those expectations are tough sometimes when things don’t go quite your way, but we’ll just continue to do our best and continue to strive for greatness,” Tapia said. “As a coach, I’m still finding my voice with the female athletes coming from coaching football. There’s always room for growth there too.”
The Bears will lose senior starters Dom Trevino, Genesis Rodriguez, and Ashley Paz next season.
In the first two playoff games, Trevino and Rodriguez both drove in runs against each opponent. In the first round against Nipomo, Trevino went 1-for-2 with an RBI, a pair of runs, and drew two walks. Rodriguez had a great day at the plate by going 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and four RBIs.
In the quarterfinals, Trevino and Rodriguez each had two hits and drove in a run against Lemoore in the team’s final 2019 game at Duran Diamond. Trevino and Rodriguez both went 2-for-2 with an RBI. Paz went 0-for-3 against Nipomo, but bounced back with a 2-for-3 afternoon versus Lemoore.
With majority of the team returning, Tapia expects to have a competitive team next season.
“We’re going to be right there in the mix,” Tapia said. “I guarantee that we’re going to be a very competitive team again and our expectations is to get to the Valley championship….and winning the Valley championship.”