The defending league and North Coast Section softball champion Lady Eagles sent a strong message to all future opponents in their own Cloverdale Varsity Tournament on Saturday — we’re back.
The Eagles made short work of tourney opponents El Molino (8-2), Fortuna (12-0) and St. Vincent (7-4) to retain bragging rights and claim the coveted first place trophy for yet another year.
The two-day tournament also featured St. Mary’s Berean Christian, Clear Lake and Head Royce, with first round games contested on Friday, March 15 and the final two rounds on Saturday, March 16.
Junior pitcher Tehya Bird was the unanimous choice for tournament MVP, winning all three games pitched and adding three home runs at the plate.
Cloverdale flexes muscles
The Eagles clung to a 2-0 lead in the tourney opener with El Molino on Friday, but a six-run explosion would be all the insurance needed to ice an eventual 8-2 victory.
Bird (7 IP, 4 hits, ERs, 14 Ks) was nearly unhittable, while top hitters were Vanessa Fisher (2 for 4, 3 RBIs), Bird (2 for 4), Lane Hughes (1 for 4, 2B, RBI), Alyssa Moffet (1 for 2, run, RBI), Faith Holloman (1 for 1, run), Ally Bernal (1 for 3, 2 RBIs) and Janaye Hammond (1 for 4, run).
It was all Cloverdale in Saturday’s morning tilt with Fortuna, jumping on the Huskies for six runs in the first two frames en route to a 12-0 win in five innings. Bird (5 IP, 1 hit, 0 runs, 9 Ks) notched the mound win, while slamming two homers. Other leading hitters included Maci Hernandez (2 for 3, run, 2 RBIs), Fisher (1 for 2, 2 RBIs), Moffet (1 for 1, 2 RBIs) and Hammond (1 for 3, run, RBI).
The ladies squared off with NCS rival St. Vincent in Saturday’s tourney title game, a team they defeated to win the Division 5 championship last June. Cloverdale would need no miracle comeback this time around, as they scored four runs in the first and pulled away down the stretch in an eventual 7-4 victory.
Bird (7 IP, 6 hits, 1 ER, 4 Ks) secured MVP honors with both her arm and bat, adding four hits, including a triple and another homer to lead the team. Also collecting hits for the Eagles were Hughes (3 for 4, 2B, RBI), Kayli King (2 for 4), Heather Sterling (2 for 5, run), Fisher (1 for 4, 2B, run, 2 RBIs), Nicky Martinez (1 for 4, 2B, RBI) and Hammond (1 for 4, run, 2 RBIs).
The Eagles will kick off the NCL 1 campaign on Thursday, March 21 against visiting Clear Lake and will travel to Willits on Tuesday, March 26. Both games start at 4 p.m.