Fallbrook High School’s softball team reached the CIF Division I playoffs this year.
A 1-0 loss to Calexico in 11 innings May 14 eliminated the Warriors from the post-season and gave the team a final 16-10-1 record, including a 5-5 mark in Avocado West League play which shared third place in the standings.
“We beat some good teams pre-season and during the season,” said co-coach Patti Drew.
“It was a good season,” said Fallbrook co-coach Shannon Koran.
“We thought we did very well,” Drew said. “It was a good season overall. We were a little disappointed that we didn’t finish farther along in the playoffs, but we got a tough draw.”
The top four seeded teams received first-round byes and began the Division I playoffs with double-elimination play. The remaining eight teams had a single-elimination game to determine which four teams joined the top seeds in double-elimination competition. “All we really wanted was a top eight seed and we would get a home game,” Koran said.
Fallbrook was seeded seventh among the Division I playoff teams while Calexico received the 10th seed. The Bulldogs, however, had a 10-2 Imperial Valley League record to capture the league title and, as a league champion, Calexico was guaranteed a home playoff game. The Warriors thus had to travel to Imperial County and play in the desert heat. “I believe when we got out of the car it was 108,” Drew said.
The Bulldogs scored the game’s only run in the bottom of the 11th inning to improve their overall season record to 22-5. “The girls played great,” Koran said.
Fallbrook’s season included sweeping pool play games in the Cougar Classic tournament to earn Platinum Division bracket play. The Warriors lost in bracket play to Great Oak, which was ranked first in the state. “We were very pleased with our performance in the tournament,” Drew said.
Fallbrook’s only other loss during the Warriors’ first 13 games was to Francis Parker in the championship game of the Warhawk Classic tournament. Fallbrook had a 13-4-1 record, including a 2-0 figure in Avocado West League play, following a 4-3 league victory April 16 against eventual league champion and CIF Division I finalist Carlsbad.
In the hours following that April 16 game, Fallbrook second baseman April Mattson was in an automobile accident and sustained cracked ribs, facial fractures, and a collapsed lung. She is expected to make a full recovery, but the senior did not play for the rest of the season. “Up until April got hurt we were rolling pretty good,” Koran said. “We lost our footing a little bit for a couple of games after that.”
The Warriors lost their next three games following Mattson’s injury before closing the regular season with three wins in their final five contests. “We kind of battled through,” Koran said.
Mattson, catcher Brittni Arena, third baseman and backup catcher Lydia Gomez, and outfielders Kailey Martinko and Nicki Myers were the only seniors on this year’s 13-girl roster.
The Warriors’ 5-5 league record included one win and one loss against each Avocado West League opponent. Fallbrook opened league play with a 5-4 win over Rancho Buena Vista in which the Warriors scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. The Warriors trailed Carlsbad by a 2-0 score before scoring once in the sixth and once in the bottom of the seventh; the Lancers scored once in the top of the ninth before two Fallbrook runs in the bottom of that inning made the Warriors victorious. Fallbrook closed out league and regular-season play May 9 with a 4-3 home win against El Camino, scoring the winning run in the bottom of the seventh to give both teams final 5-5 league records.
“We’re happy with the way things ended that we finished third,” Koran said.
“The season went very well,” Drew said. “It was a good season and we had a lot of girls step up and play really well.”