It’s not easy when the playoffs roll around and you haven’t been challenged during league play.
Aquinas softball coach Chris Ybarra won’t use that as an excuse after his team, seeded No. 1 in the division, was knocked out of the Division 4 playoffs with a 7-4 loss at home to San Dimas on Tuesday.
“I won’t say anything bad about the other teams in our league,” he said.
Although San Dimas starter Bethie Celaya wasn’t overpowering, she was likely the best pitcher Aquinas had seen in quite a while. Celaya allowed nine hits and four runs, but also had a stretch in which she retired 9 in a row and 11 of 12. Aquinas scored all of its runs in the first and seventh innings, two apiece.
Aquinas won’t have an easy time replacing senior co-captains Danielle Vega, Chelsea Casas, Ybarra admits. But those who said in years past that Aquinas would struggle after losing certain seniors, were wrong.
“We’ve still got seven starters returning,” Ybarra said. “I expect we’ll challenge for the league title again.”