Crusaders win NCS playoff opener to set up all-Little 4 quarterfinal

By Ray Hamill — The St. Bernard’s girls won their North Coast Section softball playoff opener on Tuesday to set up a rematch with a familiar foe.

The Crusaders scored four runs in the bottom of the third inning to take control of a tight game and that would be enough for pitcher Ella Jimenez and her defense, which held on for a 6-2 win over University at Samoa.

Jimenez settled into the game and kept the visiting bats in check for much of the evening, while centerfielder Courteney Goodman made some big plays, including a spectacular running catch in the top of the seventh to help seal the win.

“That was one of the best catches I’ve seen in a long time,” St. Bernard’s head coach Anthony Ford said. “It was an incredible play.”

Check out some video highlights of the game above, including Goodman’s big catch late in the game

Several players had an impact at the plate as the Crusaders offense scored in three of the six innings they went to bat.

No one more so than senior outfielder Teressa Riley, who finished 2-for-3 with a triple and a double.

Jimenez and Marce Davila each also had two hits and each scored a run, while Kodi Meyer was 1-for-2 with a run, and Emma Wilson and Goodman each finished 1-for-3 with a run.

The Crusaders took control of the game when they scored four runs on a two-out rally in the bottom of the third.

Wilson got things started with a base hit, and after stealing her way to second she was driven home on a Meyer single.

Meyer would score moments later on a Goodman base hit, and she was quickly joined on base by Jimenez, who singled, before both base runners scored on a two-RBI Davila single.

Photos by Ray Hamill/ – St. Bernard’s shortstop Emma Wilson jumps for the ball during Tuesday’s game.

Ella Jimenez

“I thought the girls played with a lot of heart,” Ford said. “They didn’t let the moment get too big for them.”

Jimenez’s performance in the circle was key.

“She struggled a little bit early, but she righted the ship and found a way to get the win,” the head coach said.

The victory sets up a quarterfinal matchup at Hoopa on Friday evening at 5 p.m.

The Crusaders were 1-3 against the Warriors in league play, handing the league champs their only Little 4 loss.

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