Sat, Jun 02 2012 09:19 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
Bonita Vista High School opened its doors in 1969. Girls softball hit the scene as a San Diego Section-approved sport in 1975.
The Barons were one of the early powers, reaching the Class 2A championship game in 1977 while posting a runner-up finish to Patrick Henry.
It would take 34 years before the Barons returned to the main stage when last year’s squad secured another runner-up finish, albeit in upset fashion, to West Hills.
The long wait is over. Bonita Vista finally scored its breakthrough victory last Saturday at UC San Diego by defeating the Rancho Bernardo Broncos, 4-2, to lay undisputed claim to the section’s 2012 Division II championship title.
The best team in school history? Certainly the first one to put all the pieces together in the right order to grab the school’s first CIF banner in the sport.
“It feels very good,” BVHS coach John Carlson said. “The kids earned it. It wasn’t easy. Rancho Bernardo put up a fight.”
Indeed, a two-run home run by RB sophomore pitcher Sara White put the top-seeded Barons in a 2-0 hole in the bottom of the second inning.
But thoughts of another disappointing runner-up finish in the division final were quickly put aside when BV sophomore Alex Vargas slammed a three-run shot in the top of the fourth inning to put her team up 3-2.
Both teams challenged for more, specifically Bonita Vista. The Barons loaded the bases in the top of the fifth inning. It appeared the reigning Mesa League champions were ready to break the game open against the second-seeded Broncos.
But they didn’t and the RB squad managed to stay close, trailing by a run.
Bonita Vista (25-3-1) finally managed to push across an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning as Tianah Hathaway tripled and came home on a throwing error.
But the never-say-die Broncos (22-10-1) promptly put the tying runs on in the final two frames, forcing BV senior ace Jennifer Hartman to dig deep into her repertoire of pitches to finally corral the RB squad for good.
BV first baseman Celinna Cosio made a leaping stab on a liner headed for trouble down the right field line to finally close out the game.
A sigh of relief was followed by hugs, cheers and, of course, congratulatory high fives.
“Amazing,” said the Sacramento State-bound Hartman, who improved her seasonal record to 19-1 with two saves by scattering five hits.
Hartman did it the hard way. She struck out only one Bronco in the game while issuing three walks. The Barons also committed three errors to complicate things.
But Hartman persevered the distance to record her 15th complete game of the season.
Carlson said he had no plans of pulling his ace.
“I have complete confidence in Jen,” he said. “She’s never disappointed me.”
“I was just trying to stay calm and throw my game and trust my pitches,” she said.
The CIF championship plaque took on a deeper meaning for five Barons who previously won national championships at the U14 level with the Bonita Valley youth softball team: Hartman, Anissa Pinedo, Cosio, Ramirez and Taylor Valdivia.
Cosio, Hathaway, Carolyn Wright and Vargas each scored one run in the title game victory against RB.
The Barons made the most of their six hits in the game. Wright and Vargas led the locals with two hits each.
Vargas received the team’s CIF Sportsmanship award.
White struck out four batters but walked six. The Broncos also made two errors — one costly.
The championship final was a replay of the division semifinals held two days earlier during which Bonita Vista recorded a 5-1 victory.
The Broncos earned a rematch by defeating fourth-seeded San Marcos, 4-1, in the ensuing challenger bracket final, also on May 24.
Wright went three-for-three with two doubles and three RBI in the semifinal win; Chelsy Ramirez drove in one run while Cosio scored twice.
Hartman put her team in the final by limiting the Broncos to three hits while striking out five batters.
What’s next? With no state playoffs in place, that’s it for the 2012 edition of the Barons. They end the season as champions!
As for next season, the 2013 BVHS squad will become the first team in school history charged with defending a CIF championship. They will do so minus six seniors (off a roster of 16 players).
© 2009 The Star-News