Arvin's magical run ends in D-VI softball title game loss to Nipomo

·3 min read

May 29—Saturday was just one of those days for the Arvin softball team.

In a magical season filled with firsts and unexpected success, very little went right for the Bears against Nipomo in the Central Section Division VI championship at Fresno State's Margie Wright Diamond.

Arvin committed nine errors and struggled to make contact against senior pitcher Key-annah Pu'a, who struck out 13 to lead the Titans to a 16-3 victory and their first Central Section title.

"Our defense just didn't step up when they needed to," said Lodevico, who was 0-31 in her first three years as varsity coach following three years as a junior varsity coach. "It was just nerves. Nerves got the best of us right off the bat."

The Bears (12-15), who snapped a 50-game losing streak with a 10-2 victory over West High in the third game of the season, were hurt by three big innings by Nipomo, who scored six in the second, three in the third and then finished with a 7-run seventh.

"We came off a losing streak and we had some young, fresh legs come in and it kind of woke us up," said Lodevico, who started two freshman, four sophomores and three juniors in the title game. "It showed us that we have a good team and that we can win. So it's been a good experience for the returning players."

Trailing 9-0, Arvin seemed to settle in, with freshman pitcher Ava Velazquez keeping the Titans off balance and the Bears' defense backing her up.

Velazquez, working to freshman catcher Yarelli Rocha, retired seven in a row during one stretch, and the Bears pulled to within 9-3 with a run in the fourth and two more in the sixth.

Kaylee Mendez got things started in the fourth when she reached on a one-out throwing error and then scored on two more Titans' errors to make it 9-1.

In the sixth, Velazquez walked, moved to second on an infield single by Rocha and later scored on a ground out by Alexia Mancilla. Rocha then scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-3.

All my players played an awesome game, but during the first part our nerves got us," said Lodevico, whose team finished the year with most victories in at least the past 18 years. "Throughout the rest of the game we just couldn't put the ball in play and that's what got us. I'm proud of my girls not giving up and making our few on-base plays count ... but it wasn't enough."

Nipomo (11-11-1) put together five hits, and made the most of two walks, a hit batsman and three more Arvin errors to put the game out of reach in the seventh.

"Win or lose, these girls made history at Arvin," Lodevico said. "And that's what I'm most proud of."