Piedmont softball falls in first-round NCS game

2019 Piedmont softball team

Ally Hersch threw a four-hit shut out, striking out 11 in the process, to lead Kennedy High School-Richmond to a 6-0 win over host Piedmont in the opening round of the North Coast Section (NCS) Division 4 playoffs on May 17.

The Eagles (12-7-1) advanced to a second round game at 2-seed McKinleyville.

The Piedmont-Kennedy game was originally scheduled for May 15, but was delayed two days by rain.

Kennedy took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a walk, a hit, and two errors. Hersch promptly set the tone by striking out the side in the bottom of the first.

It stayed that way until the fourth when back-to-back-to-back doubles by Fatima Rodriguez, Ashanti Stricklen, and Reyzarria McMillon gave the Eagles two more runs. Rebeca Perez and Na’a Lutu knocked in runs in the fifth to make it 6-0.

Meantime, Hersch was keeping the Highlanders (7-13) at bay. Krya Gardner had a single in the second. Chiara Lundin singled in the fourth, and after a force out and an error, Piedmont had two on with two out, but Hersch recorded a strike-out to end the inning. Back-to-back singles to lead off the fifth by Rachel Elliott and Isabelle Epstein gave the Highlanders their best threat. But Hersch retired the next three batters to end the inning.

A walk and an error in both the sixth and seventh gave Piedmont a chance, but Hersch shut the door both times.

2019 Piedmont Highlanders (l-r): Back row-Chiara Lundin, Izzy Epstein, Maeve Gilbert, Kyra Gardner, Caroline Strauch, Camille Creighton, Rachel Elliott & Blaise Harrison Front row-Assistant Coach Georgia Hill & Head Coach Gene Denard

After the game, the Highlanders celebrated the season with an awards dinner. Recipients included:

Caroline Strauch, MVP

Kyra Gardner, Offensive Player of the Year

Maeve Gilbert, Defensive Player of the Year

Chiara Lundin & Izzy Epstein, Rookies of the Year

Kylie Heller, Most Improved Player

Camille Creighton & Rachel Elliott, Captain’s award

Rachel Elliott, Kara Felson “Iron Woman” award

Blaise Harrison, Coach Dolores Bertolosso Most Inspirational award

Gardner, Creighton, Gilbert, and Epstein also received second team all-league honors, and Heller and Lundin were named Honorable Mention.

Photos by Len Gilbert

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