For a second straight year, that unpredictability ultimately cost the Tigers a shot at contending for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff spot.
Still, Patterson looked to end its long campaign with some promise for a better future. Though the Tigers dropped their Western Athletic Conference finale at Pacheco High of Los Banos, 7-5, on May 7, Patterson coach Jennifer Hamm remained positive.
“From beginning to end, this team got better,” Hamm said. “The players were able to come every day to practice and give 100 percent, and even though we did encounter some hurdles, we were able to overcome them and continue to push through to become better ball players.”
The Tigers (5-7 WAC) finish the WAC campaign in fourth place, while the Pacheco Panthers (2-10) placed seventh in the league.
After Patterson took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, Pacheco responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning.
The Tigers tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the third, and each team added a run in the fourth.
But Pacheco outscored Patterson 2-1 in the final two innings to earn the win in the season-finale for both squads.
Shyanne Vargas did enough to keep the Tigers’ offense in check, scattering eight hits with two strikeouts, as she led Pacheco to the complete-game triumph.
Sophomore Kianna Garza led Patterson at the plate, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double. Junior Sadie Schut (1-for-3) also plated a run for the Tigers.
It was a culmination of a year of tough losses and not enough victories for Patterson, Hamm said.
“This season, the difference was that we couldn’t always get the timely hits, and our defense mentally was not always there,” Hamm said. “We gave up too many outs or made the wrong decision that would cost us in the end.”
The Tigers, however, should return most of their starting lineup from the 2013 season, and Hamm is optimistic that better times are ahead for her team.
“Each girl made huge leaps in their play and in their leadership as teammates,” Hamm said. “These girls know what it takes to be a varsity player, and understand what it means to be a competitor.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.