Advertisement

Inability to Sacrifice Haunts CSUN in Semifinal Loss

Share via
<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

It has become a catchall excuse for coaches whose teams fail to perform well.

“We just didn’t execute,” they say.

Which could mean, we didn’t hit, we didn’t throw, we didn’t field or we didn’t pitch.

Coach Gary Torgeson of Cal State Northridge said that Saturday night about his team’s performance in the first few innings of its game against Cal State Bakersfield.

And what he was referring to was the Lady Matadors’ failure to sacrifice with the bunt. Which resulted in their failure to advance to the NCAA Division II softball championship game for the first time in seven years.

Bakersfield, which finished second behind CSUN in the California Collegiate Athletic Assn., eliminated Northridge, 2-1, in a semifinal game at the Sacramento softball complex.

Advertisement

It was only the second time in six games this season that Bakersfield has defeated Northridge, which came into the tournament ranked No. 1.

Pitcher Margaret Harvey, a junior right-hander who had not beaten CSUN in three years of trying, scattered seven hits and stranded seven baserunners.

Twice in the third inning Northridge blew scoring opportunities by popping up sacrifice bunt attempts.

“We stopped their short game, that was the key,” Harvey said. Bakersfield (52-9-1) played Northridge after an emotional 3-2 loss in nine innings to Lock Haven State earlier in the day.

“Our hope was that we could stick it to them right away and keep them down,” Torgeson said.

Lisa Erickson, who had six hits in the two games, led off the third against Bakersfield with an infield single. Lisa Martin followed but fouled out trying to sacrifice. Beth Onestinghel then singled, with Erickson moving to second, but Pam Smith duplicated Martin’s dubious feat and Lisa Hall grounded out.

Advertisement

Northridge (53-13) also left two on in the first inning. Onestinghel and Smith hit back-to-back singles with two out, but Hall struck out.

Dickmann, who had not given up an earned run in five playoff appearances, was touched for three hits and a run in the fourth inning.

Northridge tied the score in the fifth, but Bakersfield put together three more hits for a run in the sixth. Kari Tallant singled home Lora Grant for the game-winner.

Harvey (28-7) retired six of the last seven batters she faced.

“She had never beaten us,” Torgeson said of Harvey. “She pitched from the gut tonight and did a great job. We’ve pounded her before--knocked her out of the box a couple of times--but tonight was her night.”

Dickmann (24-4) appeared to run out of gas as the game wore on.

“I was very tired,” she said. “Sometimes I think they ask too much of me. I can only dig so deep. I feel sorry for the seniors, but I’m only human.”

She would be hard-pressed to convince Northeast Missouri of that.

Northridge eliminated Northeast Missouri from contention in impressive fashion as Erickson and Martin combined for six hits and Dickmann and Tracy Fox combined on a one-hitter.

Advertisement

CSUN’s attack, dormant in its 1-0 loss to Lock Haven in 11 innings Friday, pushed across three runs in the first two innings and added another in the sixth, which allowed Dickmann to rest the final two innings.

Erickson led off the game with a bunt single, stole second standing up, and scored on a single by Onestinghel.

Martin drove in the final three runs with a two-run single in the second and an RBI-triple into the gap in left-center in the sixth.

Dickmann, meanwhile, was her overpowering self. She did not allow a hit until the fourth inning when Joanne Ruddy punched a single to left on a changeup.

Pitching Coach Andy Kim, who calls pitches for Dickmann from the dugout, responded to the hit by pointing to himself the next time the pitcher looked over. Dickmann nodded.

“I called it. I’ll take credit for it, I guess,” Kim said. “She got it in a good spot, but the girl lunged at it.”

Advertisement

Dickmann had retired the previous 52 batters dating back to CSUN’s 8-0 when over Sacred Heart in regional play last weekend.

Northeast Missouri, which was eliminated from the tournament with the loss, managed only one other baserunner. Dickmann walked Sherry Thompson on four pitches in the fifth inning. It was the first walk she had issued in 115 batters.

Advertisement