Alhambra’s seniors went out with a bang on their senior night on Thursday, May 19, with a 20-1 win over the Las Lomas Knights.
The three seniors, Madeline Cervantes, Cara DiMercurio and Sam Whitworth, were all honored in a ceremony before they took care of business on the field. All three will continue their softball careers.
Cervantes will be playing at Diablo Valley College next year, DiMercurio is headed to Saint Mary’s to play, and Whitworth will be playing for Sierra College.
A strong statement was made by Alhambra in the first inning as the Knights went down one, two, three and the ball was stung off the Bulldogs’ bats several times. Alhambra was able to pile on 11 runs in the bottom of the first inning thanks to a double off the bat of junior captain and leading hitter, Karlee Sparacino, who scored two runs.
Sparacino and fellow juniors Regan Silvia and Morgan Azevedo all scored on errors by the Knights. Junior captain Bri Perez hit a ground ball double to allow two more runners to score, and then eventually reached home on another error. For the last two runs of the inning for Alhambra, DiMercurio kicked off the first inning of her senior game the right way with a two-run homer to left field that had the Bulldogs up 11-0.
Alhambra’s starting pitcher, Whitworth, dueled well for four innings, allowing four hits and one walk in her first start since her shoulder injury.
“She was healthy, ready to go the last two games. But because we have the playoffs coming up, I held her out,” Head Coach Paul Buccellato said about the senior pitcher. “She pitched one inning against Acalanes the other day just to get back in the groove. She’s throwing well right now, real well, hitting her spots. I just held her out for two games to not let her get hurt anymore.”
The bats continued to be hot for the Bulldogs as they scored three runs on another double by Sparacino. After Sparacino stole third, DiMercurio hit a sacrifice fly ball to allow Sparacino to tag up and score.
Las Lomas scored their only run of the game in the top of the third on a line drive double off the bat of Pensacola State commit Ashley Gardenal, which scored Adrienne Lim. On the play, catcher DiMercurio was hurt and left the game, and Maci Shepherd replaced her as catcher.
When asked about DiMercurio, Buccellato said, “She’s as tough as they come. She needs to get it checked out. [The athletic trainer] thinks it’s just a bad bone bruise. She’s a tough kid, she’s got a few days off, I don’t need to catch her until our first game [of NCS].”
As the number one seed, the Bulldogs were given a bye in the first round, and won’t play until at least May 27.
In the bottom of the third, the Bulldogs scored four more runs. Miranda Nilson ran home from third on a wild pitch. Sparacino kept the inning going with her third double of the night, allowing another three runs to score for Alhambra. Nilson also had an RBI triple in the bottom of the fourth to score Silva for the last run of the game.
“Our goal from day one was to win NCS,” Buccellato said. “We’ve won the last two years, so we’ve a big bullseye on our back. Everybody thinks we’re gonna do it again, and I think we’re gonna do it again. There’s tough games though, we have got a lot of tough competition.”