The Pirate softball team went down swinging Saturday in the SoCal Regional Playoffs, falling in the second game of the best-of-three series at Mt. San Antonio College 11-7. The Mounties earned the series sweep and advance to the Super Regional while the Pirates (29-14) end their season, but not without a fight. Ventura, the No. 16 seed, took a 5-4 lead in the top of the fifth inning on Celeste Ekman's tape-measure 3-run home run, but could not hold off the bracket's No. 2 seed.
Ventura, who did not get a base runner in Friday's game-1 loss, had a walk and a single in the top of the first inning, but could not plate a run. Mt. SAC followed with two scores in the bottom of the frame to take the early advantage.
VC had two more hits in the second inning, but left both runners on base before finally getting on the board in the third inning. Arianna Rivas led off with a single and Justine De La Rosa sacrificed her to second. After a pop fly for the second out, Julianna Andrade singled in Rivas to break the ice for the Pirates.
The Mounties answered with a run in the bottom of the third, and scored another in the fourth as Ventura trailed 4-1 heading into the fifth inning. Rivas started the Pirates' fifth-inning rally with a one-out walk. After a pop fly for the second out, Brittany Perez was hit by a pitch, then Andrade singled to score Rivas. Ekman then followed with a 240-foot bomb down the left field line to clear the bases and put VC ahead 5-4.
Unfortunately, the Pirates' advantage did not last long as Mt. SAC scored seven runs in the bottom half of the frame, using a pair of walks, a passed ball and an error to their advantage. After five complete, Ventura trailed 11-5.
VC kept up the fight, however, scoring two more runs in the sixth inning. Anissa Padilla and Alyssa Frutos led off with back-to-back singles, and the runners advanced to second and third on a passed ball. With one out, Rivas had an RBI single, then De La Rosa hit a sacrifice fly to close the gap to 11-7. Unfortunately, that remained the score to the final out, ending the Pirates' season.
Ventura ends the year with a record of 29-14, including a 19-5 record in the Western State Conference North Division. The Pirates will head to next season on the strength of a gutsy playoff performance Saturday, and the program's first WSC championship since 2012. The future appears bright for VC softball.