Providence Softball Sees Playoff Journey End Against Santa Paula

Pioneers endure rough first inning in 5-2 loss to Cardinals in CIF Southern Section Division V second-round contest at Olive Park.

(Photo by Austin Gebhardt)

A rough first inning immediately put the Providence High softball team in catch-up mode.

Nothing went right for Providence, which committed three errors in the opening inning en route to a 5-2 home defeat against Santa Paula in a CIF Southern Section Division V second-round contest at Olive Park on Tuesday.

It was uncharacteristic for the Pioneers, who turned to stellar defensive play throughout the season that culminated in the program’s first Prep League championship.

“We hardly made any errors during the regular season and then we just couldn’t make a few plays at the start of the game,” Providence coach Manuel Travieso said. “That was a rough first inning and it became a lot harder the rest of the game. It took seven innings to try to catch up and we came up short.”

Santa Paula (23-5) scored four unearned runs in the first, leading to its 12th straight victory. Santa Paula starting pitcher Liliana Arana struck out 15 in a complete-game to further frustrate Providence (21-6).

The Cardinals, who won the Citrus Coast League title before beginning the postseason with an 11-1 win against Grace Brethren, never looked back.

Santa Paula opened the scoring on a throwing error by the pitcher. KaiLea Reyes gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead on an RBI single prior to the Pioneers committing two more errors. Santa Paula made it 3-0 on a run-scoring single by Anayah Davis before a ground out to shortstop by Mia Cardenas capped the scoring.

Natalie Segura made it 5-0 with a run-scoring single in the third.

Meanwhile, Arana continued to hold Providence, which started the postseason with an 11-3 home victory against Westminster, at bay. The right-hander struck out eight in the first three innings. She struck out the side in the first and third.

“Their pitcher pitched a great game,” Travieso said. “She was on her game today.”

Providence’s Breanna Pelaez recorded an infield single in the fourth to break up Arana’s bid for a no-hitter.

The Pioneers, who had their 12-game winning streak snapped, didn’t hit a ball out of the infield until Delailah Lopez singled with one out in the seventh. Later in the inning, Gloria Galindo had a two-run double to left field to pull the Pioneers to within 5-2.

Providence’s Olyvia Rutter, who pitched the final five innings, said the Pioneers had a breakthrough season.

“We did a lot of good things from winning league to winning a playoff game,” said Rutter, a junior right-hander who struck out nine. “It’s something we can build on.

“We met a lot of our goals this season and we’ll look to set some more for next season. We can learn from what we did in our playoff games, too.”

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