This just in: If you thought the Lowell High School softball team was good this season, just wait until next year.
After a 15-0, three-inning mercy-rule win over Oakland Tech on Tuesday at San Francisco State allowed the Cardinals to sweep the best-of-three Transbay Series, Lowell coach Sascha Ray was almost salivating at the thought of returning virtually her entire team for the 2014 season.
“This is the first time where I’ll have my team pretty much set in place for the following season, so it’s really exciting,” said Ray, who just completed her 10th season as Lowell’s coach. “I can’t wait to see how our girls mesh in summer ball.”
The fact that the Cardinals (19-2) lose just one senior starter — albeit, it’s a vital player in pitcher Majenta Strongheart — has to be bad news for the rest of the teams in the San Francisco Academic Athletic Association.
All Lowell did this past season was go undefeated en route to winning the regular season and San Francisco Section-AAA titles.
“I think this team is pretty set to win again next year,” Strongheart said. “The biggest thing is maintaining that leadership on the field. But I think these girls will be able to handle that.”
Strongheart definitely handled Oakland Tech (16-4), at the plate and in the circle. The 5-foot-11 right-hander tossed a no-hitter on an ultra efficient 19 pitches while going 3-for-3 with two RBIs. Lowell was the superior team, no doubt — it whipped the Bulldogs 15-1 in Game 1 of the series last Friday — but it definitely received a lot of help from the Oakland Athletic League champions.
The Bulldogs committed a whopping 10 errors that led to eight Lowell runs. The mercy rule was invoked when Lowell scored with no outs in the bottom of the third on an Oakland Tech error. The Cardinals managed to collect 10 hits, including two from Polly Lesaguis and one from Michelle Louie, a pair of senior reserves.
“Polly and Michelle stood up to the challenge and really inspired me today,” Ray said. “They’re the type of players who really represent what the Lowell program is all about.”
A number of Lowell’s returning starters will be playing for Ray’s summer ball team, the San Bruno Storm 16-and-under squad.
“The players make it all happen,” Ray said. “I just give them the tools and the opportunity to get that game experience, because it’s what they do over the summer that will help them become elite level players.”