West Ranch softball battles Mater Dei in narrow loss

West Ranch's Chandler Felan, left, and Makenna Harper celebrate in the field as West Ranch starts to come back in the final innings of the game against Mater Dei at West Ranch on Wednesday. Dan Watson/ For the Signal

West Ranch softball coach Jay Creps fielded the same question for the last couple of months.

Why, people asked, did the first-year manager schedule powerhouse Mater Dei of Santa Ana?

“I was thinking, I’m at West Ranch. We’re a powerhouse. We’re ready to go,” said Creps, whose team pushed the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 No. 3-ranked Monarchs to the brink Wednesday in an 11-9 home non-conference loss.

After a slow start to the season, the Wildcats (9-13) are playing more like the team Creps expected to have when he took the job.

West Ranch overcame a 10-run deficit to beat Saugus on Tuesday and nearly climbed out of a sizeable first-inning deficit against Mater Dei (18-6) one day later.

With the Cats trailing 5-0, Jenna Rorick replaced Megan Wilson in the circle in the second inning and put together a gritty performance.

“That kid, she showed an I-will-never-quit attitude,” Creps said. “It was unbelievable, unbelievable.”

Rorick pitched the final six innings, and her teammates came to her aid at the plate.

West Ranch scored four runs in the fourth and five in the sixth.

Wildcat Kennedi Sorensen finished 4-for-5, while Marissa DeLeon was 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

Chandler Felan was 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and Adrienne Chang was 2-for-4 with an RBI.

“I’m very pleased, very pleased,” Creps said. “(Mater Dei) expected to beat us by 25.”

Saugus was on its way to beating West Ranch by that many Tuesday when the Wildcats rattled off nine runs in the fourth inning and three more in the fifth.

Sara Olson went 4-for-4 in what became an 18-16 West Ranch win. Wilson got the win in the circle, pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing one run on three hits.

Chang went 2-for-2 with three RBIs, while Delaney Bevan was 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Emily Peirano was 3-for-3.

The Wildcats will look to roll the week’s momentum over into Thursday’s home game against Golden Valley.

The Grizzlies beat West Ranch for the first time since 2008 back on March 30 – 4-3 in eight innings.

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