St. Anthony softball’s historic playoff run ends with loss to Tesoro in CIF-SS semifinals

View Original Notice ? St. Anthony softball’s historic playoff run ends with loss to Tesoro in CIF-SS semifinals

LAS FLORES — When St. Anthony senior pitcher Rose Cano got a leadoff single in the top of the fourth inning against Tesoro, the Saints’ dugout was fired up.

“The CIF ring wasn’t going to get handed to us,” Cano said after the game.

At that point, the St. Anthony softball team was down 2-0 in the school’s first-ever CIF playoff semifinal game and it was the type of quality at-bat the Saints needed to begin a rally.

Speedy freshman Yaa Claybrook came in as a courtesy runner for Cano.

A single by freshman shortstop Nata Leomiti, who went 2 for 3 at the plate, followed, which put Claybrook into scoring position with no outs.

With one out, the Saints had two runners in scoring position, Claybrook on third base and Leomiti on second base. That’s when freshman first baseman Jane Quinn got a sacrifice RBI, scoring Claybrook to cut Tesoro’s lead to 2-1 in the top of the fourth inning.

However, that offensive momentum was hard to sustain on the road, and St. Anthony ultimately lost 9-1 to Tesoro in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals Monday afternoon.

  • St. Anthony’s starting pitcher Rose Cano delivers a pitch against...

    St. Anthony’s starting pitcher Rose Cano delivers a pitch against Tesoro in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Jenna Nelson, right, beats the throw to St. Anthony...

    Tesoro’s Jenna Nelson, right, beats the throw to St. Anthony catcher Aimee Metz, left, to score in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • St. Anthony’s Nata Leomiti is safe at second as the...

    St. Anthony’s Nata Leomiti is safe at second as the ball gets away from Tesoro’s second baseman in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • St. Anthony’s Rose Cano swings and misses a pitch against...

    St. Anthony’s Rose Cano swings and misses a pitch against Tesoro in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Jenna Nelson connects for a hit against St. Anthony...

    Tesoro’s Jenna Nelson connects for a hit against St. Anthony in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • St. Anthony’s Rose Cano, right, is out at first as...

    St. Anthony’s Rose Cano, right, is out at first as Tesoro’s first baseman Ashley Gruner, left, takes the throw in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • St. Anthony catcher Aimee Metz has the ball bounce off...

    St. Anthony catcher Aimee Metz has the ball bounce off her mitt missing a chance to end the inning against Tesoro in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Kennedy Hobson rounds third and head home to score...

    Tesoro’s Kennedy Hobson rounds third and head home to score after hitting a solo home run against St. Anthony in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro starting pitcher Kennedy Hobson gets ready to deliver a...

    Tesoro starting pitcher Kennedy Hobson gets ready to deliver a pitch in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff against St. Anthony in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Kennedy Hobson, center, is greeted by teammates at home...

    Tesoro’s Kennedy Hobson, center, is greeted by teammates at home to celebrate her solo home run against St. Anthony in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Kennedy Proctor, center, motions to the crowd of fans...

    Tesoro’s Kennedy Proctor, center, motions to the crowd of fans as she and her teammates celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff against St. Anthony in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro’s Ashley Gruner, left, and Jenna Nelson, right, cheer after...

    Tesoro’s Ashley Gruner, left, and Jenna Nelson, right, cheer after scoring on a hit by Tesoro’s Loula McNamara in the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff against St. Anthony in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal...

    Tesoro players celebrate winning the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff against St. Anthony in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tesoro pitchers Loula McNamara center, is mobbed by teammates Taylor...

    Tesoro pitchers Loula McNamara center, is mobbed by teammates Taylor Johnson, left, and Kassidy Moore, right, as the Titans win the CIF-SS Division 3 softball semifinal playoff against St. Anthony in Las Flores on Monday, May 16, 2022. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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St. Anthony had lost to Tesoro 10-1 in a tournament Feb. 19.

The Titans were led by freshman first baseman/pitcher Loula-Rae McNamara who finished 1 for 3 with a walk and clutch two-RBI single that made it 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Moments before, McNamara had successfully relieved Tesoro’s senior starting pitcher Kennedy Hobson in the top of the fourth inning with runners on first and second base with no outs.

The left-handed freshman pitcher went on to pitch four innings and had three strikeouts, without giving up an earned run.

Hobson and McNamara combined for a three-hitter against St. Anthony.

St. Anthony’s Cano had five strikeouts but gave up seven hits and five earned runs in four innings.

“The umpire wasn’t calling what we wanted. I personally thought they were strikes but there’s not much you can do when the umpire is not agreeing with you,” said St. Anthony senior catcher Aimee Metz, who signed to play college softball at Boston University.

Cano was relieved by senior pitcher Jayla Cadena to begin the fifth inning.

St. Anthony had another scoring opportunity when it was down 6-1 in the top of the sixth inning.

Leomiti got an infield hit with two outs and then advanced to second base on a throwing error.

With Leomiti in scoring position, freshman third baseman Miracle McKenzie stepped up to bat looking to start a rally but she grounded out.

Meanwhile, Metz has a message for the underclassmen on her team.

“I want them to be leaders, keep their energy,” Metz explained while holding back tears. “We feed off energy as a team and I feel like together we can do well because we’re a really good team. So next year I feel like they can be leaders out there because they have what it takes.”

St. Anthony softball coach Joe Younger said Tesoro deserved a lot of credit for making key plays.

“They made some really good plays and we didn’t make some plays that we should have made,” Younger said. “We didn’t hit the ball like we usually hit the ball. I tip my hat to their pitchers, they did a great job. That was a good softball team.”

Younger said softball is a fast-paced game where errors are costly.

“One error, turned into two (errors), turned into a couple of runs and next thing you know we’re trailing 5-1,” Younger explained. “They executed today and we didn’t.”

It was a historic season for St. Anthony in Division 3 by reaching the semifinals for the first time in the softball program’s history, it is a journey that Cano and her teammates will never forget.

“It was pretty historic, the highest division we’ve been in and the longest we’ve ever gone,” said Cano, who signed to play college softball at George Washington University. “I’m satisfied somewhat. I wish we would have gotten that ring but I’m still happy with this team.”

Younger said he’s proud of his team for playing hard until the final out.

“There’s a lot of fight in this team. We’re going to fight until the pitch is pitched,” Younger continued. “That hasn’t changed since the beginning. These girls fight and I expect them to keep fighting, we still have more softball.”

St. Anthony, the Del Rey League champions, will use their semifinal loss as motivation in the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs, which begin May 31. Brackets will be released May 29.

“I think as a team after this loss, we have a lot of fight in us now. We know how it feels to lose and we don’t want that to happen again,” Metz concluded.

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