In a key match-up that went back and forth all day, the Pirate softball team secured a place in the upcoming CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs with a dramatic 6-5 walk-off victory over rival Moorpark College at the VC Softball Complex Thursday afternoon. Kali Brown knocked in the game-tying run with an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning before scoring the game-winner on Serrina Cabral's single to punctuate the final-inning comeback.
With the win, VC (20-16, 21-3) moves two games ahead of Moorpark for second place in the Western State Conference North Division with one game remaining, securing the league's second automatic playoff berth.
Coming into the game, Ventura led Moorpark by a single game in the conference standings in second place. Taking into account the Pirates' loss to the Raiders earlier this season, a VC setback would have put the Raiders in the driver's seat for the automatic playoff bid. The Pirates were determined to not allow that to happen.
Moorpark held a 3-1 lead in the middle of the third inning before Ventura scored three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Jenesa Monje keyed the rally with a triple as Ventura took a 4-3 advantage.
The Raiders came back with a pair of scores in the top of the fifth inning to retake the edge, 5-4, and the score remained until the bottom of the seventh.
In the final frame, Cassidy Craig began the rally with a one-out bunt single. Monje followed with a walk before Brown singled to bring home Craig to tie the score. Monje was tagged out at third base on the play and Brown alertly moved into scoring position on the throw. Cabral then followed with a base hit up the middle and Brown came around to score from second, beating the throw with a slide around the catcher for the game-winning run.
Brown was 3-4 on the day with a double and a run batted in while Cabral finished 2-3 at the plate in addition to some stellar defense at third base. Kayla Garcia triple din the game and Craig's lone hit started the game-winning rally.
Jessica Mendoza went the distance in the pitcher's circle for Ventura for the victory.
Ventura travels to Compton on Monday April 22 for a rain make-up for February before closing out the regular season at home on Tuesday April 23 against Santa Barbara. First pitch against the Vaqueros is scheduled for 2:30 pm.