IRVINE — Delaney Bevan knew that her last at-bat against Crescenta Valley in the CIF-Southern Section Division 3 championship game could be the last at-bat of her prep softball career. And yet, she was still smiling.
“I just wanted to make my last at-bat of high school memorable,” she said. “It wasn’t, unfortunately, but I just wanted to keep a smile on my face. I didn’t want the CV pitcher getting so pumped up with herself, I just wanted to stay calm and try and at least put the ballin play.”
Bevan struck out to close out the title game in a 3-0 loss to the Falcons at Deanna Manning Stadium on Saturday evening. The Wildcats struggled to find that one big hit that seemed to break open games for them all season, but were still grateful to be in the conversation for the Division 3 title.
“It’s been really fun,” said pitcher Jenna Rorick. “We’ve work super hard all year and I’m glad we got to come out I the last game, the championship. It sucks that we lost, but I’m proud of my girls that we made it this far.”
West Ranch (18-8) had its hands full against CV pitcher Deedee Hernandez. The pitcher, who has previously thrown for Mexico’s Jr. National Team, threw a no-hitter in the championship game.
The only hitter to get on base for the Cats was Jenna Rorick, who was walked in the fifth inning.
“She has a lot more spin than the other pitchers we faced,” Bevan said. “We were prepared, but we weren’t prepared as much. We just had a bad day and that happens to the best of teams.”
In addition to focusing on playing solid defense, Rorick was having an emotional battle of another kind in the circle. Her dad and assistant coach Tim Rorick was ejected from the semifinal game against Wilson of Long Beach, meaning he could not attend the championship game.
Tim typically calls pitches for Rorick, but against Crescenta Valley (27-5-1), the job was delegated to catcher Adrienne Chang. Rorick and Chang have a close relationship, but it was still a struggle for the pitcher to perform her best with her dad watching from home.
“He’s been there for me forever, since day one he’s been my coach and he’s called pitches and helped me out and it’s just really tough to not have him be there for the last game, but I’m really happy he got to at least watch it from home,” Rorick said.
The Cats gave up seven hits in the game, a number that coach Phil Giarizzo said was about average for his team.
After putting up one run in the first inning, the Falcons scored twice more in the third. Alyssa Hernandez singled to get on first base and Morgan Eng bunted to get on base immediately after. Two at-bats later, Izzy Jamgotchian cracked a two-run single to bring both of them in.
“They got a couple key hits,” Giarizzo said. “That’s probably our average, giving up six, seven. One here one there, but normally they don’t put anything together on us. So the game plan was right on spot, it’s just that we didn’t expect not to hit at all.”
West Ranch will lose seven seniors to graduation, but the will to return to another championship game is still strong. The team finished second in the Foothill League this season and was able to beat league heavyweights Valencia and Saugus.
“Put in the work, don’t be lazy,” Bevan said of her advice to the returners. “Just go out there with a good attitude, don’t get down on yourselves if you’re losing because we always come back. There’s always time and I want to see how far they go next year.”