The Eagles suffered their first defeat of the 2019 campaign on Friday in the quarterfinals of the North Coast Section Division 4 softball playoffs, falling in an upset to No. 8 seeded Saint Mary’s, 6-1 at Daly Field.
The loss gave Cloverdale a final season mark of 23-1.
The Eagles entered the 12-team NCS tournament as the No. 1 seed, the reward for a dominant preseason and unbeaten league campaign. Cloverdale drew a first-round bye before squaring off with Saint Mary’s following a 10-day layoff.
Things started well enough for the Eagles, taking the lead on a solo home run blast from Tehya Bird in the first inning, but it would prove to be the highlight of game for Cloverdale.
The Panthers clawed back with four runs in the third inning for a lead they would not relinquish, adding solo runs in the fourth and sixth innings. Saint Mary’s ace pitcher Reyna Heredia did the rest, using an effective rise ball in firing seven innings of five-hit ball, yielding one earned run and fanning eight en route to a surprising, 6-1 victory.
Bird (7 IP, 7 hits, 5 ERs, 7 Ks) finished up a sensational 2019 season with an overall record of 23-1, including 215 strikeouts in 144 innings for an earned run average of 0.88.
Hitting safely for the Eagles were Lane Hughes (2 for 3), Bird (1 for 1, HR, run, 3 BBs, RBI), Faith Holloman (1 for 3) and Maci Hernandez (1 for 2).