Bakersfield, CA - Just call them the comeback kids. For the third straight elimination game, the Comets overcame either a late deficit or late tie to survive and advance in the 2019 CCCAA State Softball Championships. This time it came at the behest of Northern California #1 College of San Mateo, as Palomar set-up a rematch of last year's state championship game after a 3-1 win over the Bulldogs.
In what became a trend, it was a two-out rally that got the Bulldogs on the board. Freshmen Riley Donovan and Amanda Weitenhagen drew a pair of walks with two away. That brought sophomore Ally Sarabia to the plate. Sarabi didn't disappoint hitting a double to left-center, driving in Donovan and giving the Bulldogs an early 1-0 advantage.
Sophomore San Mateo starting pitcher Emily McAdams would keep the Palomar bats off-kilter for the first four innings. The Comets would be limited to just a pair of single through the first four frames. They wouldn't find their groove until the bottom of the fifth and did so with a pair of outs.
Sophomore Jillian Zamora would get the rally rolling with a single to center field. Sophomore Sarah Fisher, the hottest hitter in the tournament this weekend, followed that up with a triple to left-center that tied the game up at 1-1. Sophomore Megan Wachholtz came up next and hit an RBI single to left that plated Fisher and gave the Comets their first lead. Two batters later freshman Kendall Kates laced a double to left driving in Wachholtz and giving Palomar a two-run cushion.
Trailing for the first time on the afternoon, College of San Mateo would get a one out single in the top of the sixth, and then another base runner in the top of the seventh, when sophomore Allie Hughen hit sophomore Aubrie Businger with one away. Each time though, Hughen escaped pushing the Comets back into the title game.
Hughen (14-2) picked up her third win of the weekend gave up five hits and three walks in her seven innings of work. She struck out four and hit one batter. Offensively it was Fisher who was 2-for-3, and Zamora who was also 2-for-3. For San Mateo, their five hits were spread out among five different players.
Palomar (41-9) will now take on SoCal #1 Mt. San Antonio College for the state championship for the second straight year. If the Comets are to upset the Mounties and claim their sixth state title, they'll need to win twice on Tuesday. Game #14 of the weekend is set for 11:00 AM at Bakersfield College.