The North Bay League split thrillers in the opening round of the NCS Softball Playoffs.


First the good news.   No. 9 Rancho Cotate scored all its six runs in regulation in the fourth inning and went on to defeated No. 8 Redwood 7-6 in nine innings.


Rancho Cotate gave up two runs in each of the second and third innings to fall behind 4-0.  Then they had the big fourth, with the runs supplied on two homers, in a rally that started with two outs and nobody on base.   The inning was extended by an error and they took advantage of that.  Vickie Espinoza hit a homer, her first of the season, to cut the lead to 4-2.


The Cougars weren’t done yet.  A single and two walks loaded the bases when Katie Rohrer smashed a grand slam to give Rancho Cotate a 6-4 lead.


Redwood tied the game with a two run sixth to force extra innings.  Rohrer scored the game winner on what amounts to a Little League type of play.    She led off the ninth with a single and ended up scoring on the same play after two Redwood errors.


Rancho Cotate is now 18-6-1 on the season.   They will meet the winner of today’s game between No. 16 San Lorenzo and No. 1 Alhambra.


The loss was in Division 4, where No. 11 Cardinal Newman gave up two in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 loss to No. 6 Marin Catholic.   Cardinal Newman, who finishes 9-12 on the season, had the lead despite only getting three hits.


It was a mixed bag in Division 4.   The two NCL I teams that played, split.


No. 7 Clear Lake edged No. 10 Justin Siena 4-3 to raise its record to 19-5.  The Cardinals will travel to No. 2 St. Patricks-St. Vincent on Friday.


No. 8 Lower Lake was shutout by No. 9 Berean Christian 5-0.  They end the season 17-8.


This is the Wednesday Round One schedule




No. 11 Liberty (9-14) at No. 6 Santa Rosa (15-5)




No. 10 Dublin (15-7) at No. 7 Maria Carrillo (18-5)


No. 12 American (14-10) at No. 5 Petaluma (20-5)


DIVISION 3 (14 Teams)


No. 14 San Rafael (9-12) at No. 3 Analy (15-6)


No. 10 Sonoma Valley (13-10) vs. No. 7 Pinole Valley (9-15) at Ellerhorst Elementary


DIVISION 4 (14 Teams)


No. 13 McKinleyville (13-13) at No. Cloverdale (16-5)


No. 12 Middletown (12-8) vs. No. 5 Moreau Catholic (12-8) at Hayward Larry Standley Field


DIVISION 6 (2 Teams)


No. 2 CSD (5-13) at No. 1 Rincon Valley Christian (7-8)


Yes, this is the championship game




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