SEMI-FINALS HERE WE COME: Bonita Softballers Win in Walk-Off, 4-3, Over Mission Viejo

May 27, 2010
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Corrina Liscano homers to put Bonita on the board.


Campa lines a single in the fifth inning.


Campa is about to connect in the fifth.


Mission Viejo's Amanda Fernandez kept the pressure on Bonita.


It's duck and cover after Jackie Campa tries to recover from victory celebration.

It's duck and cover after Jackie Campa tries to recover from victory celebration.

Jackie, give us one more picture and smile on the biggest hit of your Bonita career.

Jackie, give us one more picture and smile on the biggest hit of your Bonita career.

It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters, and senior Jackie Campa finished like a champion to lead Bonita to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Mission Viejo at Las Flores Park on Thursday.

Down to her last strike, with batters on second and third representing the tying and go-ahead runs, Campa lined a solid single up the middle to win it for the Bearcats. Campa fouled off numerous fastballs including two down the left field line before clutching up and stroking the game winner.

“Before the game, I was a nervous wreck,” said Campa, recognizing the win-or-go-home format of the CIF playoffs. “But once we started playing, it was just softball.”

It was also Campa time!

Also a member of the Bonita volleyball team, Campa helped that Bearcats team reach the CIF finals before losing to Los Altos. She drew on that experience as she battled at the plate for what could have been her final Bonita at-bat.

“I wanted this so bad,” added Campa. “We lost it in volleyball. We were just two points away from winning the CIF championship. I never want to have that feeling again.”

The only feeling Campa was experiencing after the game was one of exultation and unbridled joy. She almost tied the game in her previous at bat in the fifth. After Clarice Spathias singled and was sacrificed to second by Liza Liddel, Campa singled sharply to left but Coach Carlson elected to hold pinch-runner Kate O’ Malley at third.

When Bonita didn’t score in the bottom of the fifth, it looked as if Carlson perhaps should have gambled and sent the runner home. However, had O’Malley been thrown out, Campa might never have made it to the plate in the bottom of the seventh.

In a Bonita career full of hits was this Campa’s biggest?

“By far, by far,” said Campa, catching her breath. “My dad always says, ‘Pressure is a privilege.’ My dad loves that. I hate it.”

But the privilege was the entire Bonita fan base that was ringing the stands and outfield fences watching the dramatic finish.

Campa, of course, had help. Corrina Liscano helped the Bearcats score the game’s first run on a one-out home run over the left field fence. In the top of the fourth, Mission Viejo rallied for three runs on three singles and a pair of errors, and with Boston University-bound hurler Amanda Fernandez dishing in the circle, it looked as if they might stand up to deny Bonita a trip to the semifinals.

Bonita, however, clawed back with run in the bottom of the fourth on a single by Jazzlyn Costa and a dunker by Chloe Wurst to put runners on first and second. With Karissa Crawford at the plate, Costa stole third and came home when the ball got away on the throw down to third.

In the top of the fifth, Wurst gave up a lead-off single to Tory Speer and wild-pitched her to second before stiffening and shutting down Mission Viejo. After that, Wurst gave up only a single to give Bonita its final chance in the bottom of the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, after Vanessa Romero grounded out to short in a bang-bang play, Clarice Spathias nursed a one-out walk and Liscano came up huge again with an infield single to put runners on first and second. Liddel moved the runners to second and third with a perfect sacrifice bunt, bringing up Campa.

You know the rest.

“I was nervous as all get out,” said Coach Carlson, his voice still quivering after the walk-off two-run single by Campa. “But I was loving where we were at. We got one of our seniors up, and the minute they put on the shift (opening up the left side), Jackie recognized that and she chased that and she went after that.”

Carlson also recognized something.

“Our team grew today by leaps and bounds,” Carlson said. “Because Mission Viejo is one heckuva team. Our kids, they believe in one another. They started the season believing in one another, and we’re not done.

No they are not. Bonita resumes action on Tuesday.

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