It ended when Marika Zumbro bounced off the rubber to field a grounder near the first-base line, made the tag herself and jogged into the dugout to celebrate.
And really, how else could a Transbay softball series the Oakland Tech pitcher had lorded over so prominently have concluded? Zumbro dominated Tuesday’s 11-3 series-clinching victory in every way, hitting for the cycle while going 4-for-5 with eight RBIs (including a grand slam in the fifth inning). The right-hander also pitched a complete game, allowing just one earned run on four hits and striking out 11.
In the two games, the junior was 7-for-8 at the plate and 2-0 pitching, striking out 27 in 14 innings.
“I’ve never seen someone dominate like that,” Lowell starting pitcher Alina Werth said. “She throws hard and hits her spots, is a great hitter and is apparently a great soccer goalie, too.”
The two schools are also playing in the girls’ soccer Transbay Series, with Tech having won the first game and tied Game 2. Lowell must win Thursday’s final game and then top the Bulldogs in a shootout to take the series, a prospect made all the more difficult considering Zumbro has yet to allow a goal in two games as Tech’s goalie.
So, is Zumbro concerned about becoming the Cardinals’ nemesis?
“I’m not sure, I don’t really know anyone from Lowell,” Zumbro said. “I’m just trying to win two Transbay championships.”
She helped get the Bulldogs (15-1) off to a good start Tuesday, ripping a two-run triple in the top of the first inning to give Tech the early advantage. Lowell (18-4) threatened to take the lead in the third after Althea Jardeleeza led off with a single, Elaine Ngo drew a walk and Anny Nguyen followed with a bunt single to load the bases with none out and the heart of the order coming up. But Zumbro regrouped and held the Cardinals to only one run on a Sati Houston sacrifice fly and allowed just two more hits the rest of the way.
Tech then scored two unearned runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 4-1 and put the game away with a seven-run fifth that was aided by three Lowell errors.
The Cardinals notched a run in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Werth and added another in the seventh on Houston’s sharp single.
“It always comes down to pitching and [Zumbro] just dominated the whole thing,” Lowell coach Sascha Ray said. “But I’m so proud of what we accomplished this year and the girls never stopped fighting.”
Oakland Tech 11, Lowell 3
Will Lowell be able to win the AAA next season?
Share your comments below.